Before mestizaje : the frontiers of race and caste in colonial Mexico

Vinson, Ben, III, author

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  • Creator Ben Vinson III
  • Format Books
  • Publication ©2018 New York, NY, USA : Cambridge University Press, 2018.
  • Series
  • Physical Details
    • xvii, 284 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), maps (some color) ; 24 cm
  • ISBNs 9781107026438, 1107026431, 9781107670815, 1107670810
  • OCLC ocn986788516


  • "From the dawn of Spain's venture into the New World until the end of its colonial regime, Spanish America was gripped by an almost innate need to process, categorize, and label human differences in an effort to manage its vast empire. Whether it was conquistadors seeking to establish grades of difference between themselves and native rulers, or simple artisans striving to distinguish themselves from their peers, people paid careful attention to what others looked like, how they lived, what they wore, and how they behaved. Over time, rules were created to contain transgressions. The wearing of costumes and masks outside of sanctioned events and holidays was soundly discouraged, lest disguises lead to crimes, immorality, and mistaken identities. People who lived as others could be labeled criminals, and those who moved across color boundaries to enjoy privileges not associated with their caste did so at their own risk and peril. When legislation failed to control behavior, social pressure impelled obedience and conformity"--Provided by publisher.


  • Includes bibliographical references (pages 255-276) and index.


  • Wayward Mixture : The Problem of Race in the Colonies -- Mestizaje 1.0 : The Moment Mixture had Modern Meaning -- "Castagenesis" and the Moment of Castizaje -- The Jungle of Casta Extremes -- Extreme Mixture in a Theater of Numbers -- Betrothed : Marrying into the Extremes -- Betrothed : Identity's Riddle -- Betrayed -- Colonial Bequests -- Coda -- Appendix A. Core Records Consulted from the Archivo General de la Nación -- Appendix B. Place of Origin of the Extreme Castas in Mexico City's Marriage Cases, 1605-1783 -- Appendix C. Extreme Casta Slave Sales, from Mexico City Notarial Archive, Seventeenth Century -- Appendix D. Identity Reconsidered : Factoring Lineage into Declarations of Casta
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