The Transatlantic Las Casas

Historical Trajectories, Indigenous Cultures, Scholastic Thought, and Reception in History


The Transatlantic Las Casas demonstrates the vitality of Lascasian studies. An impressive ensemble of scholars spanning the fields of Latin American studies, philosophy, theology, anthropology, law, literary criticism, and ethnohistory illuminate the complex intellectual web surrounding the controversial figure of Bartolomé de las Casas.

This volume offers sophisticated explorations of colonial Latin American and early modern Iberian studies by Laura Ammon, Thomas Eggensperger, O.P., Natsuko Matsumori, Timothy A. McCallister, Luis Mora Rodríguez, David Thomas Orique, O.P., María Cristina Ríos Espinosa, Rady Roldán-Figueroa, Mario Ruíz Sotelo, Frauke Sachse, Rubén A. Sánchez-Godoy, John F. Schwaller, Garry Sparks, Vanina M. Teglia, Dwight E.R. TenHuisen, Paola Uparela, Ramón Darío Valdivia Giménez, Andrew L. Wilson, and Victor Zorrilla.

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Rady Roldán-Figueroa (Th.D., Boston University) is Associate Professor at Boston University. He is the author of The Ascetic Spirituality of Juan de Avila (1499–1569) (Brill, 2010), and The Martyrs of Japan: Publication History and Catholic Missions in the Spanish World (Spain, New Spain, and the Philippines, 1597–1700) (Brill, 2021).

David Thomas Orique, O.P. (Ph.D., University of Oregon) is Professor at Providence College. He is the author of The Unheard Voice of Law from the Often-heard Text: A New Rendition of Bartolomé de Las Casas’s ‘Brevísima relación de la destruición de las Indias’ (Routledge, 2021), and co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Latin American Christianity (2019).


List of Figures and Tables


Notes on Contributors

Introduction : The Past and Present of Lascasian Studies
  Rady Roldán-Figueroa and David Thomas Orique, O.P.

Part 1
Trajectories of Las Casas’s Heritage: New Spain and Peru
1 The Conflicted Humanitarianism of the Spanish Colonial Government: Late Sixteenth-Century New Spain and the Impact of Las Casas
  John F. Schwaller

2 “Multiplicarse ha la tierra de gente y de fruto”: Gender and Re-production in Las Casas’s and Guaman Poma’s Biopolitical Projects (1516, 1615)
  Paola Uparela

3 (Mis)Appropriating the Authoritative Bishop of Chiapa: Calancha and His Translators as Readers of Las Casas
  Dwight E. R. TenHuisen

Part 2
Las Casas and Indigenous Cultures: Caxcan and K’iche’an Maya
4 Francisco Tenamaztle, Bartolomé de las Casas and the Role of Translation in the Construction of a Legal Case Before the Consejo de Indias (1555–1556)
  Rubén A. Sánchez-Godoy

5 Books and/as Idols: Affective Discourse in Early Colonial Dominican and Maya Writings
  Garry Sparks

6 Las Casas and the Divine Social Orders of the Indigenous Americans
  Frauke Sachse

Part 3
Bartolomé de las Casas and Political and Moral Theology
7 The Pontifical Theocracy of Friar Bartolomé de las Casas, O.P. (1484–1566)
  Ramón Darío Valdivia Giménez

8 Prudentia: Thomas Aquinas Interpreted by Bartolomé de Las Casas
  Thomas Eggensperger, O.P.

9 Moral Uncertainty and Doubt in the Affairs of the Indies: Vitoria, Las Casas, and Medina on Difficult Cases of Conscience
  Víctor Zorrilla

10 “No Greater nor More Arduous Step”: Lactantius, Las Casas, and Continuity in Christian Rhetoric about Conversion
  Laura Ammon

11 Reason and the Monstrous: Las Casas’s Appeal to the imago dei
  Timothy A. McCallister

Part 4
Bartolomé de las Casas and Early Modern Philosophy
12 Hospitality or Property? The Natural Right of Communication and the “New World”
  Natsuko Matsumori

13 The Epistemology of Bartolomé de Las Casas: An Introduction
  David Thomas Orique, O.P.

14 Bartolomé de las Casas and the Foundation of Latin American Philosophy
  Mario Ruíz Sotelo

15 Las Casas’s Apologética historia sumaria and His Vision of the Other
  Luis Mora Rodríguez

Part 5
Historical Receptions of Las Casas: Utopians, the Black Legend, and Revolutionaries
16 Political Hermeneutics of Utopias in Europe and the Americas: Thomas More, Bartolomé de las Casas, Vasco de Quiroga
  María Cristina Ríos Espinosa

17 The 1516 Project for the Colonization of the Indies: The Simulacrum of a Utopia
  Vanina M. Teglia

18 Beyond the “Black Legend”: The Reception History of Las Casas in Late Sixteenth-Century England
  Rady Roldán-Figueroa

19 Enlightenment and Revolutionary Uses of Las Casas from Charlesvoix to Pancho Villa
  Andrew L. Wilson

Lascasian Bibliography


Both specialists and non-specialists will value this work. Specialists will have the latest and most comprehensive multidisciplinary scholarship from leading Lascasian experts available in one volume. Non-specialists will have access to a rich and thoughtful overview of nascent colonial Latin American and early modern Iberian studies in a single text. Furthermore, both readerships will appreciate scholarly features to aid them in their research, such as detailed bibliographies, a topical index, and a list of contributing scholars. Keywords: Bartolomé de las Casas (1484–1566); Dominicans; Catholic missions; Caxcan Indians; Colonial Latin America; K’iche’ Maya; Spanish colonialism; Black Legend; Just War; Human Rights; Utopianism; Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274); Scholastic thought; Early modern philosophy; Gender and reproduction.     
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