We devote this issue to colonial history. Specifically, the authors in this issue analyze how different social and bureaucratic actors, including the indigenous peoples of Mexico and the Andes, contributed to the creation of several forms of colonial documentation and knowledge. As written and unwritten systems of record keeping and classification moved from Europe to the colonies, they invariably suffered important modifications, frequently due to the actions of colonial subjects.

In “‘Asi lo paresçe por su aspeto’: Physiognomy and the Construction of Difference in Colonial Bogotá,” Joanne Rappaport analyzes how peninsular systems of classification, which focused on individuals rather than groups, showed an attentiveness to bodily features and details that are different from those used in modern racial systems. The author therefore suggests that to understand early colonial classifications it is better to adopt the period’s idiom of “calidades,” which referred...

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