This interesting volume examines the production of knowledge about colonial subjects, primarily those of the Chilean Andes. Taking inspiration from Michel Foucault, Ángel Rama, and Pierre Bourdieu, the authors treat categories that recur insistently in colonial records — for example, indio rebelde — as points of departure. What was at stake for those so identified? Who had the power to name or classify whom, and how did putative identities and processes of classification change over time? The volume as a whole emphasizes the mutability and political expediency of such classifications, and it urges scholars not to assume a straightforward relationship between colonial social practice and the ways it was represented on the archival page. It’s a rewarding study for those interested in historiography, borderlands, and the dynamics of domination, slavery, and ethnogenesis.

Several authors examine the terms Spaniards used to brand those whom...

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