This collection of ten essays, prefaced by an introduction coauthored by the volume’s editors, originated as a colloquium convened at El Colegio de México in 2007. In keeping with María Elena Martínez’s recent study of limpieza de sangre, the volume traces how a set of religiously grounded hierarchies established in Spain was transformed in Spanish America into more overtly racial (or proto-racial) systems of difference based increasingly on phenotype. Although the book opens with an excellent overview of late medieval and early modern Iberian history by Max S. Hering Torres and concludes with a discussion of twentieth-century formulations of mestizaje by Guillermo Zermeño, it is firmly anchored in early Latin American history with a slight emphasis on the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Likewise, a few of the chapters adopt a transatlantic framework, but the volume’s overall focus is New Spain with an...

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