With Sins against Nature: Sex and Archives in Colonial New Spain, Zeb Tortorici has written an expansive, thoughtful, provocative, and innovative encyclopedic work on sex acts and words viewed as unnatural or criminal under viceregal rule in Mexico, Guatemala, New Mexico, and the Philippines. While Tortorici generously invites his readers to peruse the documents themselves in a digital archive that he has made accessible, his book should stand for many years as an indispensable contribution to the history of so-called unnatural sexuality in New Spain.

This book challenges readers to consider and question what is secret and hidden and what is cataloged and labeled in the records we use to explore the history of sexuality—itself a misnomer, as sexuality as a concept did not exist until long after the era under discussion. Tortorici carefully tracked down all possible case files in...

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