Is casta still “good to think”? In her latest book, Joanne Rappaport contends that the prevailing interpretive “straitjacket of caste” has allowed anachronistic racial valences to creep into historical analysis while also leading scholars to discount other critical markers of differentiation and status (p. 225). Examining the lives of people of mixed descent in the New Kingdom of Granada and the challenges that authorities and others faced when attempting to classify them, Rappaport identifies an array of elements often bundled in the concept of calidad — including gender, occupation, honor, religion, and birth — that were key to defining status and identity. Rappaport treats casta nomenclature such as mestizo as the outcome of highly variable processes of identification rather than the signifiers of discrete and well-defined demographic subsets. By doing so, she sets out to explore how and when otherwise unmarked individuals...

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