José Ramón Jouve Martín has a bold purpose: to understand how Afro-Peruvians, a predominately illiterate group in the colonial era, employed the practices of writing and powerful written records (à la Angel Rama’s Lettered City) in order to negotiate their symbolic and political positions in the viceregal capital of Lima in the seventeenth century. By exploring the everyday role of legal writing in the city’s black community, Jouve Martín proves that enslaved and free men and women of color, who may not have been able to read or write, would have experienced literate discourse when clerics read out loud to them during religious indoctrination (p. 60), or when a notary read an agreement back, allowing illiterates to participate in the composition of the document and thus allowing their integration into literate society (p. 82). According to Jouve Martín, certainly scribes and notaries...

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