In this well-researched study, Frank T. Proctor III explores the culture of slavery in central New Spain (especially Mexico City, Morelos, and Querétaro) in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Analyzing records from Inquisition, ecclesiastical, and civil courts, he examines the intersecting themes of labor, community, identity, and agency. His work emphasizes how the use of “public” and “private” transcripts, a concept derived from James Scott, characterized slaves’ responses to performances of power within the slave system. For instance, a bondsman and bondswoman might be silenced under the threat of continued physical violence to themselves or a family member; however, beyond the owner’s gaze, they would verbally condemn these actions. According to Proctor, these dual responses, especially those enacted in private, reveal “the lack of ideological domination by the elite” (p. 6). Moreover, slaves’ reactions shed light on the spaces within which they sought...
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Book Review| November 01 2012
“Damned Notions of Liberty”: Slavery, Culture, and Power in Colonial Mexico, 1640–1769
“Damned Notions of Liberty”: Slavery, Culture, and Power in Colonial Mexico, 1640–1769. By Proctor, Frank T.III.
University of New Mexico Press,
Hispanic American Historical Review (2012) 92 (4): 755–757.
Michele Reid-Vazquez; “Damned Notions of Liberty”: Slavery, Culture, and Power in Colonial Mexico, 1640–1769. Hispanic American Historical Review 1 November 2012; 92 (4): 755–757. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182168-1727854
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