The history of medicine in colonial Latin America now constitutes a vibrant and burgeoning field of scholarship. The past decade has brought pioneering studies on the relationship between colonial governance, race, forced labor, and scientific advance. In these New World societies, European, indigenous, African, Chinese, and many more approaches to the body came together, often in conflict but also in synchrony and reciprocal assimilation and adaptation. Medicine thus offers a particularly fertile terrain for exploring both the geopolitics and the lived experience of colonial rule.

For decades, however, Latin America was cast as a peripheral player in the Whiggish narrative of European scientific advance. It is thus with still marked boldness that Martha Few appropriates the term Enlightenment in her study of “Mesoamerican and colonial medicine in enlightenment Guatemala.” She, like other scholars in this field, seeks to geographically re-place and reorient...

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