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Pléyade (Santiago)

versión impresa ISSN 0718-655Xversión On-line ISSN 0719-3696

Pléyade (Santiago)  no.23 Santiago jun. 2019

http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0719-36962019000100101 

Artículo

Civilizing the Pre-Modern Spanish World through the Gaze of Modernity

Civilizando el mundo hispánico premoderno a través de la mirada de la modernidad

Lauren Beck* 

* Canada Research Chair in Intercultural Encounter and Head of Department and Associated Professor in Hispanic Studies at Mount Allison University (New Brunswick, Canada). E-mail: lbeck@mta.ca

Abstract:

The gaze of history when it is penned by Western scholars is often undergirded by a layer of violence through which the historian imposes his own view and perceptions upon another people and their places. During the early modern period (1492-1800), Europeans sought to describe the peoples and places they had encountered for European audiences, which gave rise to increased interest in the science of describing people (and then to the fields of anthropology and ethnography), and the invention of race. This article meditates on how the gaze imposes race while also structuring non-white people within the Enlightenment concepts of civilization and culture. Using casta paintings as well as literature drawn from the Spanish literary canon, we furthermore demonstrate how race became inscribed as a civilizing tool wielded in the nineteenth century by other Europeans against Spain as a means of othering and de-occidentalizing it from without the so-called civilized world.

Keywords: Race; Gaze; Visual Culture; Literature; Spain.

Resumen:

La mirada de la historia, en tanto producto de la pluma de estudiosos occidentales, suele fundamentarse a partir de una violencia por la cual los historiadores imponen su proprias perspectivas y percepciones a otros pueblos y sus espacios. Durante la temprana edad moderna (1492-1800), los europeos intentaban describir estos pueblos y lugares encontrados a los públicos europeos, dando lugar a un creciente interés por la descripción científica de las personas (y luego a las disciplinas de la antropología y la etnografía) y a la invención de la raza. Este artículo examinará cómo la mirada europea racializa al otro, construyendo cierta noción de gente no blanca a través de los conceptos ilustrados de civilización y cultura. Mediante cuadros de casta y literatura canónica española, se demostrará cómo la racialización se ha inscrito como uno de los instrumentos civilizatorios, después utilizados por otros europeos en el siglo diecinueve en contra de España para reconceptualizar dicho país como otro, no occidental y fuera del mundo civilizado.

Palabras clave: Raza; Mirada; Cultura visual; Literatura; España.

Introduction

With no little irony in the context of the Americas and the liberal ideals that ripened into the fruit of civilizing discourses during and after the Enlightenment, Bruce Johansen demonstrates that civil and social liberties protected by the American constitution, which embodies a treatise for civilization, descend from Native American practices and were then adopted by the Western world1. His conclusions unsettle the dominance of Western political and social thought and their ideals, and expose the concept of civilization as responsible for elevating these non-Western solutions for Western problems. The Western appropriation of Indigenous thought required a process of re-racialization whereby those ideals emerged instead from the pens of white men during the Enlightenment, which highlights the fluidity of race, particularly in the hands of white people.

Civilizing discourses of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries have shepherded the rest of the world toward a Western semblance that forms the basis of globalization2. In tandem, the term civilization stratifies our world by cleaving away those who live within from those who live without it, which implies borders, city limits, and the rule of law. Nested within Western civilization is a neoliberal capitalism fomented in Europe and whose reaches have become global: it proves increasingly difficult to escape the confines of Western civilization, which makes the pre-modern Spanish world such a complex environment within which to understand civilization and racialization as concomitant elements of colonization. The dichotomies of civilization evoke the opposition between the metropole and the country, technology and the lack of mechanization, the refined and the barbaric, Christian and non-Christian, the modern and the ancient, the known and unknown, and white and non-white3. Some scholars use the term to signify social organization and the increasing complexity of a culture as it realizes its parabolic existence from nothing, climaxing during its golden age, and disintegrating during its collapse4. This tendency also reinforces the eminence of Western civilization, at least for Western scholars, over the last two and a half millennia, and lays bare the potency of the racializing Western gaze5.

Thinkers such as Fredrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) articulated the superiority of the West along racial lines while acknowledging the violence and privilege that comes with imposing Western civilization upon others. In his 1886 essay On the Genealogy of Morals he wrote: “[A]t the bottom of all these noble races the beast of prey, the splendid blond beast [is] prowling about avidly in search of spoil and victory; this hidden core needs to erupt from time to time.”6 Nietzsche protects civilizing violence in a way that elevates physical and intellectual brutality for the imperial cause, whose enclosure or cage is civilization. Evidently, he envisioned a German empiricism, not a Spanish one, as the mane of his Arian beast indicates7. The metaphor helps us understand how later thinkers racialize the Nietzschean lion, for instance reading its appearance in Spain’s national symbolism (for the kingdom of León) as a sign of imperial dominance over the dark-coloured, black-haired common man described elsewhere by Nietzsche8. An animal from warmer climates in the nineteenth century and beyond, the lion also symbolized the West’s increasing access to the south’s resources and the alienation of the global south, typified by darker skin, warmer climates, and a perceived effeminacy, from the global north, characterised by lighter skin, cooler climates, and a perceived masculinity. As Bruce Lincoln has concluded, racialized geographies infect scholarship about European civilizing discourse, and scholars more recently struggle not to view the Nietzschean lion in this way9.

Transcontinental and transhistorical impacts of racialization such as the ones implied by Nietzsche’s lion will be pursued in this article by considering civilizing discourses used on both sides of the Iberian Atlantic in textual and visual sources. This essay first examines the visualization of race in Latin American casta paintings dating from the eighteenth century against earlier portrayals of Native Americans, as a means of demonstrating the increasing importance to Spanish and European audiences of race as an indicator and demarcation of civilization. We will then turn to the emergence of Hispanic studies as a discipline during a period in which scholars de-civilized Spain from the Western world for its Islamic past as well as its activities in the Americas during the early modern period. Using the example of the Muslim-fighting Spanish hero, the Cid -whose narrative was re-popularized in the nineteenth century-, this foundation will allow us to reframe Spain’s activities domestically and abroad through the lens of post-Enlightenment scholarship’s colonizing gaze of that country and its racialized past. We will then meditate on civilizing discourse as, in Bruce Mazlish’s view, a colonizing ideology that will allow us to view the Spanish people as simultaneously civilized as well as the civilizers in the modern era10.

Racial Typologies and Visual Culture in the Early-Modern Spanish World

Anxiety about race in the eighteenth century characterizes casta paintings, which transcend the verbal ordering of peoples used for centuries in Spanish culture along the lines of blood purity (limpieza de sangre) through which white Catholics remained an ethnographic and cultural ideal, because for the first time race was being displayed as a Western typology for humanity11. Enlightenment-era authorities in the Spanish colonies reprised blood purity protocols and re-cultivated them in terms of race in ways that unified the natural and social worlds12. Racial typologies had long been part of Christian eschatology, and certainly since the sons of Noah inherited the three continents, thus racializing geographies according to Noah’s most and least favoured sons (Japheth, who received Europe, and Ham who received Africa), thus justifying the apparatus of enslaving African peoples for European economic and social benefit13. The subject swelled in popularity in the sixteenth century while Spaniards crafted a justification for their authority in the New World on behalf of thinkers and clerics, including Bartolomé de las Casas (1484-1566), Francisco de Vitoria (1492-1546), and Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda (1490-1573), who relied upon the bible and biblical commentary, in addition to legal sources, to support their perspectives in favour and against Spanish (and certainly Catholic) culture as ordering principles in the New World.

Title page from Theodore de Bry’s ninth volume of the Grands Voyages series featuring the Americas; the first part of this book is devoted to a Dutch-language translation of José de Acosta’s Historie naturael ende morael van de Westersche Indien (1598) (Frankfurt: Matthew Beckerum, 1602).

Casta paintings built upon naturalistic portraits of the other displaying his and her differences for European viewers. These portraits grew in popularity in the sixteenth century outside of Spain. During the intense period of European expansion into lands previously unknown to them, the European book trade exploded with illustrated histories and customs books that exhibited these faraway peoples to the European reader. Performing their otherness and demonstrating the use of essentializing objects about which the author provided details, these illustrations almost always absented any ethnographical information, which we argue is a fundamental component of Enlightenment-era civilizing discourse. One of these works, Historia natural y moral de las Indias (1589), authored by José de Acosta, situated various peoples of the Americas as new, strange, and different, which exposes the normativity of being European in the context of his work. Typical of most Spanish chronicles, it was not illustrated; rather, it only gained visualization through the workshop of Theodore de Bry (1528-1598) and his collaborators in 1602. The title page for this volume, which contains other works, announces the titles of translations prepared for Dutch audiences. The illustrations provided in the book mirror those of its front matter, including the Caucasian racialization of the Indigenous people featured within the Spanish Americas -one of whom was recycled from de Bry’s volume on Virginia (the original illustration also featured Caucasian features)- as well as flora and fauna new to Europeans, including penguins and a llama14. The interchangeability of North and South Americans demonstrates the artist’s disinterest in racializing the visualized subject at the dawn of the seventeenth century and his engagement with these peoples’ material and environmental differences through the objects and wildlife displayed to the reader.

Books prepared by Acosta’s contemporaries also illustrated Spaniards, portraying them as violent aggressors in their invasion of the Americas as well as Europe during the decades that comprised the Counterreformation 15. These books circulated in the imperial languages of Europe, moreover, exposing the continent to a narrow construction of Spain and its activities abroad as well as to a particular description of Native American peoples. Because those illustrations likewise do not racialize the victims of Spanish violence, these illustrations portray Spaniards abusing a Caucasian, Europeanized other, which inscribes Spanish brutality known elsewhere in Europe, for example during the Wars of Religion, onto the bodies of both Native Americans and non-Spanish Europeans. With Native Americans and Europeans thus united in their collective subjecthood as victims of Spanish incursions, the perception grows that the Spanish had become degenerated, which we will argue allows them to be re-racialized in important ways after the Enlightenment.

De español, y Morisca: Albina, by Miguel de Cabrera (casta painting #6 of 16 casta paintings), 1763. Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Casta paintings expose the racial degeneration of Spaniards while idealizing whiteness as a racial construct. This genre of painting becomes popular in the eighteenth century and is a product of the Enlightenment’s engagement with the scientific study of humanity16. Many of these ethnographic combinations accentuate the dangerous or strange-seeming product of mixed blood relationships, both in the New and Old Worlds. For example, the daughter of a Spanish man (español) and a mixed blood Muslim-Christian woman (morisca) is an albino (albina). The unexpected product of two comparatively darker-skinned parents disincentives procreation between castes because the child’s whiteness will be viewed as aberrant, which in turn encourages blood purity among Spaniards within the context of the civilization of the Spanish world in the eighteenth century. Another example from Cabrera’s series of casta paintings involves a morisco (mixed blood Muslim-Christian man) and a Spanish woman, whose progeny is a chino (literally, a Chinese boy, also a derogatory term for an Indigenous person), and if he procreates with an Indigenous woman (india), their child is a salta atrás (a step backward); when he procreates with a mulata, their child is a lobo (wolf). These last two examples demonstrate the dehumanization of mixed-blood peoples through the caste system, another way through which they were systemically de-civilized from Spanish culture. The effacement of geographical signifiers -with the exception of the Spaniard born in Spain- is another quality of this genre of painting, whereby morisco and india have no explicit or clear geographical referent tied to a particular place, as in the case of the Spaniard to Spain. The displacement of chino and india to Latin America furthermore examples the geographic vagueness underlying re-racialization, as the geographic signifiers expressed by these names also function as racial signifiers pointing to Asian peoples17.

The paintings perform the argument of racial degeneration in that they deploy a sliding scale that visualizes the Western ideal of racial purity in a way that maintains the hierarchy of Europeans over indigenous and black peoples. The paintings provide a vocabulary to verbally order and subjugate the person displayed or encountered, ranging from most to least white. Whiteness and Spanishness (that is, descending of two pure-blood Spanish parents born in Spain) together hovered patriarchally above the caste system, as only mixed bloodedness appeared as offspring in the casta paintings, with the exception of the criollo -a man born in the Americas of two pure-blood Spaniards born in Spain18. Importantly, before this period verbally-expressed racial typologies required investigation and documentation; they were used by Spanish secular and religious authorities to determine perceived spiritual needs and legal entitlements, yet one’s appearance was not enough to presume one’s place in the order of things19. Geography was increasingly comingling with appearance in a way that ordered whiteness, nudging the criollo below Spanish on the scale of racialization despite the common assignment of racial identity to their parents. Criollos thus were denied an essential geographic signifier in their caste category that would have reinforced their otherwise idealized whiteness.

As the Spanish-speaking world grew increasingly mixed blooded, the theme of degenerative whiteness in painting is particularly interesting because many casta painters were criollos and mestizos who directly suffered the impacts of social stratification in both geographical and racial ways20. The reassertion of works by Las Casas, Acosta, and others in the nineteenth century, moreover, mixes with the established racialization of the Spanish world and makes it difficult to study the early modern period without a civilizing gaze toward the past, particularly in a time in which Western civilization authored the history of all peoples and things with race as a key descriptor21. On the one hand, the sixteenth-century motivation to expand into the Americas relied upon the justification of spreading Christianity, which up until the Enlightenment remained an organizing principle of European and Spanish epistemologies. On the other hand, scientific inquiry, anthropology, and the emergence of nation states nuance and eventually displace the Christian worldview.

The study of civilization through culture (kultur) gave birth to the field of anthropology in the nineteenth century, which inscribed the study of culture for the purpose of establishing white knowledge about other peoples in ways that also gave birth to the gaze of civilization within the safe space reserved for the quest for scientific knowledge. White people’s gaze thus produced knowledge about other peoples according to where white scholars looked and what they valued; white ways of knowing and viewing thus inform what is culture in the global West by the nineteenth century. During this same period, the Western gaze and its interest in culture helped cultivate Hispanic studies and Oriental studies as scholarly fields of inquiry shaped primarily by British, French, and German scholars and writers22. Like casta paintings designed to define the range of non-whiteness in the Spanish world as a means of exposing degeneration, Spanish literature and culture also became defined by non-Spaniards in ways that grafted a degenerative skein upon Spain.

The Un-Whitening and De-Occidentalization of Spain: the Example of El Cid

Hispanic studies and Oriental studies form while the discourse of civilization is in its adolescence in the late eighteenth century, and they quickly become intertwined as objectified projections of Spanish culture, identity, and history. The expulsion of the moriscos from Spain between 1609-1614 was proceeded by a century-long ban on speaking and writing the Arabic language as well as the burning of books in Arabic. Yet, Spain boasted a significant collection of Arabic-language books due to its mariners’ practice of sacking enemy ships, yielding on more than one occasion a library belonging to the enemy, including a catchment of books captured at the Battle of Lepanto in 1570 and the library of Moroccan sultan Mawlay Zidan, captured in 161223. Thousands of books and manuscripts prepared in Arabic resided at El Escorial but nearly nobody in Spain could read them. Arabists such as Ottoman Syrian-born priest Miguel Casiri (1710-1791) and Pascual de Gayangos (1809-1897) became some of the first individuals to study and translate these documents for broader audiences24. These activities dovetailed with a widespread interest within Europe about the non-Western world that quickly matured into the field of Oriental studies.

Eighteenth-century interest in national literary corpora also led publishers to capitalize on Spanish readers’ thirst for its literary past, for instance in Tomás Antonio Sánchez’s Colección de poesías castellanas anteriores al siglo xv (1779), which included the first-published version of the Poema de mio Cid. Likewise discovered in libraries and archives were Spanish-language poems written in Arabic, known as the kharjas, and related forms of poetry and prose that had remained unknown to literary scholars until the nineteenth century. As the kharjas demonstrate, language increasingly opened the door for the reader to access another culture’s knowledge25. An extensive translation program unfolded throughout Europe whereby the national literature of Spain could be consumed in English, French, and German, in addition to other European languages. As Brett Bowden observes, diplomatic and international relations in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries relied most on these languages and through them the concept of civilization, unified by whiteness, becomes vocalized26.

Using the Cid’s poem to demonstrate the extent of this vocalization, following the 1779 edition, English and German bestsellers appeared. Robert Southey (1774-1843), whose translation appeared in 1808 and was subsequently released on both sides of the Atlantic many times over the following two centuries, characterized the poet as a Spanish Homer, linking thusly literary genius with a bygone culture’s glory27. This linkage was not incidental and reflects a growing perception in nineteenth-century Europe that Spain and Spanish culture had grown outmoded and decrepit, yet its past glories nonetheless could be romanticized by foreign publishers.

The title page from Adelbert von Keller, Romancero del Cid (Stuttgart: Liesching y Comp., 1840).

Frontispiece from Juan Eugenio Hartzenbusch, Romancero pintoresco (Madrid: Alhambra y Compañía, 1848).

Der Cid: Nach Spanischen Romanzen (1813), by Johann Gottfried von Herder (1744-1803), developed a life of its own throughout the nineteenth century, being re-released across tens of editions. These and some competing editions became thoroughly adorned with orientalizing illustrations of one of Spain’s national heroes in ways that exulted the country’s Muslim past and stereotyped the actors of Spanish history using essentializing cultural characteristics that range from ethnographic stereotypes to Arab-inspired architectural abstractions. During this period, the Cid’s character and his surroundings became visibly islamified 28. Comparatively few editions relating to the Cid’s adventures appeared in Spain or Latin America in Spanish, and those that appeared in Spanish were usually published outside of the Spanish-speaking world for foreign language audiences and designed to help them acquire the Spanish language29. It is in this way that the European objectification of Spanish literature transforms into a colonizing act as Spanish literature becomes German literature read in German and sometimes in Spanish, intended for German audiences, and for which not the poem’s author but rather its German translator and commentator become famous.

Such was the popularity of an 1838 edition of Herder’s work30 that one of the only Spanish editions published that century in Spain reproduced the German illustrations in 1842 (reprinted in 1848). Yet, the Barcelona-Madrid editions were intended for Spanish audiences, the latter edition edited by the librarian of the Biblioteca Nacional de España, Juan Eugenio Hartzenbusch (1806-1880)31. The naturalization in Spain of orientalizing images originally destined for foreign audiences demonstrates the acceptance, on the part of the Spanish book trade, of this othering from without and, on the part of the Spanish people, of the Muslim past of its national identity. This acceptance was not easily accomplished before the Enlightenment when Islam and its referents remained terms of derision that signaled cultural and religious malfeasance and were not considered worthy subjects of literature and art32. Notably absent in literature published in Spain before the nineteenth century are celebrations of that Muslim past, which is not a surprise given the conceptual design of casta painting, its idealization of whiteness, and its projection of racial degeneration, whereas works such as the Cid’s story began to be read as a form of cultural history that validated at the same time that it assigned national identity33. This re-association of Spain with its Muslim past happens not in the hands of Spaniards but of other Europeans, whose objectifying interest in Spanish culture echoed the popular French saying of the day: “Africa begins in the Pyrenees”34. The Spanish embrace of this past even becomes a vehicle for commercial purposes, as one recent exhibition of visual art used to sell products and services between 1870 and 1970 demonstrates, which evinces broad acceptance of that Muslim past domestically35.

Spain Exoticized within Civilizational Discourse

Europe’s objectification of Spain as its corner of oriental exotica positioned the country within the realm of the Arab world and thus its sphere of civilization, and lessened the nation’s whiteness as appraised by Western eyes. Orientalized thusly from without, Spain had also been weakened due to several bankruptcies in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the collapse of the Spanish Habsburg line in 1700, the subsequent installment of the French Bourbon line on its throne, the dispersal of its empire through the Treaty of Utrecht (1713) and the eventual independence of its colonies beginning in the late eighteenth century, and the invasion during the same period by Napoleon: not only could Europeans consume Spanish culture in published form, they could also dismantle its empire from within Europe. The architecture of knowledge accessed by the West about Spain became colonized when the most authoritative voices in the discipline of Hispanic studies and for knowledge about Spanish culture originated from outside of the Spanish-speaking world -for example, Southey and Herder, and from influential organizations with extensive publishing programmes, including the American Hispanic Society36.

Individuals and entities such as these ones employ their language skills and interest in history or literature in influential ways mirrored by the casta paintings. Like racialization and the way that white degeneration is manipulated through such works, primary sources can be transformed through translation, infecting them with Western civilizing discourses37. A recently-published theorist, for example, quoted an English-language translation of Las Casas’s In Defense of the Indians (translated by Strafford Poole in 1974), and included parenthetical material within the quotation that commented on Las Casas’s description of the encomienda system: “a satanic invention, never before heard of”38. The effect, no doubt unintended by the author, positions Las Casas as the one who assesses the evil nature of the encomienda, rather than the theorist, and certainly the phrase is absent from the original text and its subsequent translations. The twentieth-century text contributes nonetheless to the orientalization of Spanish activities in the Americas while de-civilizing Spaniards as, in this case, outside of the Christian order. As the popular refrain “Africa begins in the Pyrenees” confirms, Spain in the European imagination had also been conceptually displaced from Europe to Africa, although the significance of this displacement requires context. When used as an insult, Spain’s Africanness undergoes the same re-signification experienced by Native Americans, in the latter case as being from India (and thus Indians); when used by Spaniards to reconsolidate collective identity while Spain was losing its colonies, Spain’s Africanness reflects a return to a medieval-era civilization, which now conceptually existed thanks to the Enlightenment, and which was viewed in the late nineteenth century as harder-working, more educated, and more modern than contemporary Spain39.

This example reminds us that Spanish history from a post-Enlightenment perspective is built upon several civilizations that yield alignments between the civilizers and the civilized. When the Romans arrived and later named the land Hispania, the Iberian and Celtiberian peoples adjusted to Roman ways of life, learned Latin and later the vernacular tongue, and provided the labour needed to extract natural resources. Like the popularity of the Cid’s poem in the English, French, and German book trades, the extraction of resources or the exploitation of another people and its endowments is a form of exogenous colonization: commerce and industry became key actors in asserting colonial power and authority40. According to Roman law, moreover, and despite being from this land, the Iberian peoples could not be Roman, and were distinguished from Romans in juridical and social contexts that objectified their labour but nonetheless viewed them as otherly in their own lands41. This form of internal or domestic colonialism structurally segregated the colonized from their colonizers, categorizing one from the other according to place of origin, much in the same way as the casta paintings did using both race and place of origin when both the colonized and the colonizers occupied the same space42.

Similarly, when the Visigoths came to the peninsula, they structured the Roman settlers as their unequals in the land where the latter people had lived for centuries in the Visigothic Code. While marriage was not prohibited between Romans and Goths, their access to the land was not equitably divided, with a small population of Goths controlling two thirds of the arable land and a large population of Romans controlling one third of the arable land43. As before, their stratification remained geographic in nature. Not long after, a composite group of Muslims arrived and various ways of negotiating the intercultural encounter ensued, from acculturation through the imposition of Arabic language, Islam, and political systems taken from the Muslim world to some imperfect (and today idealized) form of convivencia through which Christians and Muslims lived together under the rule of one or the other’s king, usually preventing the equality of Christians, Muslims, and Jews with juridical and social regulations, such as those expressed in the thirteenth-century Siete Partidas44. After centuries of living in Al-Andalus, the land slowly fell under Catholic control and Muslims were expected to speak Spanish, worship Catholicism, and eventually were expelled altogether from the land that they had known for centuries. Not unlike Native Americans or Indians, whose namesake embodies the process of severing the colonized from their geographic origins (as they do not descend from Amerigo Vespucci nor come from India), the assertion of alternative places of origin functions similarly to the adscription of race.

Spain’s past is conflicted by these bifurcated identities as a colonized space occupied by both the settler-colonizer-civilizer and the colonized-civilized-settler across time. From this history we understand the Spanish people today to be settlers and not Indigenous of the land. This treatment of the civilized creates a hostile environment that encourages what Tuck and Yang have called disappearance whereby the colonized become less visible and are rendered disappeared by the settler people, and without Indigenous peoples, the settlers play Indian or exert nativist claims45. In his appropriation of the insult circulating in Europe about Africa beginning in the Pyrenees, Nineteenth-century politician Joaquín Costa (1846-1911) takes this claim one step further by blending African racial characteristics into the character of Spaniards, “for whom Africa begins in the soles of their feet and ends in the hair upon their heads”46. His Africanization of Spain regenerates racial profiles from Muslim Spain within the frame of Costa’s modern-day nation state. Costa’s backward glance to Muslim Spain should be viewed in light of the period’s civilizational discourse, particularly because Costa’s proposed racial heterogeneity, which chafes against the reality that Spain remained quite white, embraces what only a century before was considered degenerative civilization. This ethnogenesis hinges upon civilizing processes expressed by the casta paintings, particularly its portrayal of blood purity, in ways that “painted over” Indigenous and criollo bodies, respectively and to echo Dussel, in order to preserve Spanish settlerism and nativism, respectively. Viewed in this way, the non-Spanish “covering over” of Spanish identity using racial and geographic surrogacies points to the Western colonization of Spain, its culture and history, and Spaniards eventually embrace this exogenous characterization47.

Conclusion

Civilization from this socio-political perspective has coloured scholarly assumptions about Spain’s history as much as its present48. The orientalization of Spanish historiography and the barbarization of Muslims, as opposed to the civilization of Christians, is foregrounded by increasing scholarly activity on Spanish culture and history in the nineteenth century, so that global readerships were exposed to this framing of Spain. Spain in need of civilization became a common theme among early twentieth-century historians, a position not helped by the country’s lack of industrialization and the installment of a dictatorship which isolated and alienated it from most of the Western world, as well as its continued adherence to Catholicism, which was also viewed as outmoded. Civilizational projects exampled by the casta paintings, when mixed with these factors, resulted in a transhistorical and transatlantic feedback loop through which modern Spain became exogenously defined. After Franco’s death and the regeneration of a republic as well as democratic systems, Spain cleansed itself of its ascribed barbarity and embraced a chance to reignite so-called civility once again as a young democracy, joining the European Union, and demonstrating the country’s embrace of the contemporary ideals of civilization summarized at the outset of this essay49.

And what of the aims of Western civilizational ideology? The modern problem presented by race as a social construct becomes joined by class and the division of labour in the nineteenth century50, which has the effect of disappearing Indigenous peoples and elevating the concerns of settlers within the metropole that is Western civilization. Scholars could embrace the view that, like the Romans, Native American values and cultural practices colonized Western thought and society, but such alignments in scholarly thought are rare.

Viewing Indigenous peoples as racialized groups dwindling in numbers, under siege by environmental and capitalist forces, considered (increasingly or decreasingly) white and thus less authentically indigenous, becomes a way of subscribing Native Americans within the Western world as perennially less civilized than others, all without removing them from the land occupied by settlers. The casta paintings document and participate in this complex phenomenon. Like the criollo and mestizo creators of those paintings, Spain likewise reproduces the European othering of itself, particularly in visual and literary culture generated outside of Spain, appropriating it, and completing what Jodi Byrd deems necessary for unsettling settlerism through the appropriation of ideals and methods employed by colonizers51. The reassociation of Spain’s Muslim and African past within a period of national regeneration underlines the ways that past civilizations, in a post-Enlightenment sense of the term, become grafted upon our sense of national identity while maintaining settler presence on the land.

By establishing these alignments between Spanish civilizational discourse in Latin America and Western civilizational discourse in Spain in both visual and verbal ways, we problematize the civilizational project from within the West by exposing how the gaze of modernity also lays eyes upon the West itself, as opposed to that which typically finds itself isolated from the metropole, and the so-called modern and civilized worlds.

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About the AuthorLauren Beck. Canada Research Chair in Intercultural Encounter and Head of Department and Associated Professor in Hispanic Studies at Mount Allison University (New Brunswick, Canada). She specializes in the visual culture of the early-modern Atlantic world, xvi-xviii centuries, with focus on the representations of race, gender, and indigenous peoples. Her recent work includes Firsting in the Early-Modern Atlantic World (Nueva York: Routledge, 2019), Illustrating El Cid, 1498-Today (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2019), and Visualizing the Text: From Manuscript Culture to Caricature, edited with Christina Ionescu (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2017). Her recent articles have appeared in Renaissance Quarterly and Journal of Women’s History. In 2018 she was awarded with the Kislak Fellow for the study of history and culture across the Americas at the Congress Library, Washington D.C. E-mail: lbeck@mta.ca

1 Bruce E. Johansen, “Native American Contributions to Democracy, Marxism, Feminism, Gender Fluidity, and Environmentalism,” in Firsting in the Early-Modern Transatlantic World, Lauren Beck ed. (New York: Routledge, 2019).

2Felix Cohen, “Americanizing the White Man,” American Scholar 21, no. 2 (1952): 177-191.

3Bruce Mazlish, Civilization and its Contents (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004), 1-19. See also Eric Cheyfitz, The Poetics of Imperialism: Translation and Colonization from The Tempest to Tarzan (Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press, 1997). Mazlish builds upon and digests an array of scholarship on this topic by the likes of Enrique Dussel, Walter Mignolo, and Frantz Fanon, to name just a few important contributors to this body of scholarship.

4Michael Burger, The Shaping of Western Civilization: from Antiquity to the Enlightenment (Peterborough ON: Broadview Press, 2008).

5Western history being world history is a challenge that scholars must also navigate. See, for example, Paul V. Adams, Lily Hwa, Erick D. Langer, Peter N. Stearns, and Merry Wiesner-Hanks, Experiencing World History (New York: New York University Press, 2000). Western history as a history of progress and modernity similarly excludes other civilizations and peoples as moderns. See Alexander Woodside, Lost Modernities: China, Vietnam, Korea, and the Hazards of World History (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2006).

6Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals: First Essay, Walter Kaufmann and R. J. Hollingdale trans. (New York: Vintage Books, 1989), section 11, 40-41.

7The use of this metaphor as a foundation for understanding Nazi Germany is explored by James W. Underhill, Creating Worldviews: Metaphor, Ideology and Language (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2011), 140.

8Gerd Schank, “Nietzsche’s ‘Blond Beast’: On the Recuperation of a Nietzschean Metaphor,” in A Nietzschean Bestiary: Becoming Animal beyond Docile and Brutal, Christa Davis Acampora and Ralph R. Acampora eds. (New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2004).

9Bruce Lincoln, Theorizing Myth: Narrative, Ideology, and Scholarship (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999), 114-115.

10Mazlish, Civilization and its Contents, 20-48.

11For more on casta painting, see Magali Marie Carrera, Imagining Identity in New Spain: Race, Lineage, and the Colonial Body in Portraiture and Casta Paintings (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2003); and Ilona Katzew, Casta Painting: Images of Race in Eighteenth-Century Mexico (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004).

12Santiago Castro-Gómez, La hybris del punto cero: ciencia, raza e ilustración en la Nueva Granada (1750-1816) (Bogota: Editorial Pontificia Universidad Javeriana / Instituto de Estudios Sociales y Culturales Pensar, 2010).

13Anne Baker, Heartless Immensity: Literature, Culture, and Geography in Antebellum America (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2006); for French thought on racialized geographies, see Martin S. Staum, Labeling People: French Scholars on Society, Race and Empire, 1815-1848 (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2003); for a comparative perspective on race and geography from various national perspectives, see the essays in Claire Dwyer and Caroline Bressey eds., New Geographies of Race and Racism (Burlington VT: Ashgate, 2008) and in Peter Jackson ed., Race & Racism: Essays in Social Geography (London: Allen & Unwin, 1987).

14The Virginia series featured several illustrations of Indigenous peoples found in the area of present-day Virginia originally prepared for Thomas Hariot by John White. The one that is recycled on the title page of South America is of a Secota (Algonquian) man, and can be found in A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia (Frankfurt: Theodore de Bry, 1590), pl. v.

15De Bry’s Grands Voyages series is an iconic example of this practice.

16Victoria Dickenson, Drawn from Life: Science and Art in the Portrayal of the New World (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998). Also see Alejandra Araya Espinoza, “¿Castas o razas?: imaginario sociopolítico y cuerpos mezclados en la América colonial. Una propuesta desde los cuadros de castas,” in Al otro lado del cuerpo: estudios biopolíticos en América Latina, Hilderman Cardona Rodas and Zandra Pedraza Gómez eds. (Bogota: Ediciones Uniandes, 2014), 70-71.

17An excellent exploration of this subject for blackness in early-modern art can be found in David Bindman and Henry Louis Gates Jr. eds., The Image of the Black in Western Art, Vol. 3: From the ‘Age of Discovery’ to the Age of Abolition (Cambridge MA: Belknap Press, 2010-2011).

18Ben Vinson III, Before Mestizaje: The Frontiers of Race and Caste in Colonial Mexico (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), 57.

19A useful work for connecting the verbal to the visual is Raúl Alcides Reissner, El indio en los diccionarios. Exégesis léxica de un estereotipo (Mexico City: Instituto Nacional Indigenista, 1983).

20Laura Catelli, “Pintores criollos, pintura de castas y colonialismo interno: los discursos raciales de las agencias criollas en la Nueva España del periodo virreinal tardío,” CILHA 13, no. 17 (2012). See also María Elena Martínez, Genealogical Fictions: Limpieza de Sangre, Religion, and Gender in Colonial Mexico (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008), esp. Ch. 9.

21Christopher Schmidt-Nowara, “Bartolomé de las Casas and the Slave Trade to Cuba circa 1820,” in Connections after Colonialism: Europe and Latin American in the 1820s, eds. Matthew Brown and Gabriel Paquette (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2013); and by the same author, The Conquest of History: Spanish Colonialism and National Histories in the Nineteenth Century (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2006). The works and name of Las Casas furthermore were used by nineteenth-century government to deal with interethnic issues in Mexico; see Autumn Quezada-Grant, “Indians, Ladinos, and the Resurrection of the Protector de Indios, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, 1870-85,” Ethnohistory 60, no. 2 (2013).

22Anthony Close, The Romantic Approach to ‘Don Quixote’: A Critical History of the Romantic Tradition in Quixote Criticism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978); Mitchell Codding, “Archer Milton Huntington, Champion of Spain in the United States,” in Spain in America: The Origins of Hispanism in the United States, Richard L. Kagan ed. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2002), 167; Frans de Bruyn, “Edmund Burke the Political Quixote: Romance, Chivalry, and the Political Imagination,” Eighteenth-Century Fiction 16, no. 4 (2004).

23Braulio Justel Calabozo, La real biblioteca de El Escorial y sus manuscritos árabes. Sinopsis histórico-descriptiva (Madrid: Instituto Hispano-Árabe de Cultura, 1978).

24Susan Martín-Márquez, Disorientations: Spanish Colonialism in Africa and the Performance of Identity (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008), 26.

25Nadia R. Altschul, Geographies of Philological Knowledge: Postcoloniality & the Transatlantic National Epic (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012), 11.

26Brett Bowden, The Empire of Civilization: The Evolution of an Imperial Idea (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009), 24; see also his contribution to this volume.

27Altschul, Geographies of Philological Knowledge, 115.

28See my book on this subject, Illustrating El Cid, 1498 to Today (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2019).

29These learning materials were also subject to translations and enjoyed an international reach. See, for example, Jean Charles Leonard Simonde de Sismondi, Historical View of the Literature of the South of Europe, Thomas Roscoe trans. (London: Henry Colburn and Co., 1823), Vol. 1. For the impact of concept of structuring history, see Américo Castro, The Structure of Spanish History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1954).

30Johann Gottfried von Herder, Der Cid nach Spanischen Romanzen besungen durch J.G.von Herder mit Randzeichnungen von Eugen Neureuther (Stuttgart and Tubingen: Verlag der J.G. Cottaschen Buchhandlung, 1838; reprinted in 1839 and 1843).

31El Cid (Barcelona: Imprenta de D. Antonio Bergnes y Compañía, 1842) and Juan Eugenio Hartzenbusch, Romancero pintoresco (Madrid: Alhambra y Compañía, 1848). For more on German influences on book illustration in this period published within Europe, see John Buchanan-Brown, Early Victorian Illustrated Books: Britain, France and Germany, 1820-1860 (London: British Library, 2005).

32Beyond the scope of this essay, for more on this subject, see Edward W. Said, Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World (New York: Vintage Books, 1997); by the same author, Orientalism (New York: Random House, 1979); and Couze Venn, Occidentalism: Modernity and Subjectivity (London: Sage Publishers, 2000). Also see Patricia E. Grieve, The Eve of Spain: Myths of Origins in the History of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Conflict (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009), 205-218.

33José Álvarez-Junco, Spanish Identity in the Age of Nations (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2011).

34Grieve, The Eve of Spain, 215.

35Carlos Velasco Murviedro, Brisas de Oriente: el cartel comercial español, 1870-1970: Colección Carlos Velasco (Madrid: Casa Árabe e Instituto Internacional de Estudios Árabes del Mundo Musulmán, 2011).

36Also see the essays curated by Richard L. Kagan ed., Spain in America: The Origins of Hispanism in the United States (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2002). While some scholars have concluded that Herder rejected European self-elevation as a superior race as well as universal notions of culture and civilization, in the context of visual culture Herder had little control over how his work became illustrated and thus his edition of the Cid served as a site of parasitic orientalism through which which his work retained an orientalized character due to its visual material. By the mid-nineteenth century, culture as a term and concept began to be used much in the same way as civilization had been in the eighteenth century. On this subject, see Raymond Williams, Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985), 89-90.

37Lauren Beck, Transforming the Enemy in Spanish Culture: The Conquest through the Lens of Textual and Visual Multiplicity (Amherst NY: Cambria Press, 2013).

38Bowden, The Empire of Civilization, 135.

39Joaquim Costa, Los intereses de España en Marruecos son armónicos (Madrid: Imprenta de España en África, 1906), 18-19.

40Douglass C. North, John Joseph Wallis, and Barry R. Weingast, Violence and Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 176.

41Judith Evans Grubbs, Women and the Law in the Roman Empire: A Sourcebook on Marriage, Divorce and Widowhood (New York: Routledge, 2002), 84, 184. Also see Toni Ñaco del Hoyo and Jordi Principal, “Outposts of Integration? Garrisoning, Logistics and Archaeology in North-Eastern Hispania, 133-82 BC,” in Processes of Integration and Identity Formation in the Roman Republic, Saskia T. Roselaar ed. (Leiden: Brill, 2012).

42Colonization in this sense is read through Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang, “Decolonization is not a Metaphor,” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society 1, no. 1 (2012): 4-5.

43See Samuel Parsons Scott’s translation of their laws in The Visigothic Code (Forum Judicum) (Boston: Boston Book Company, 1910), 337.

44On convivencia, see Connie L. Scarborough, Revisiting Convivencia in Medieval and Early Modern Iberia (Newark: Juan de la Cuesta, 2014). On the treatment of Jews and Muslims in Catholic Spain, see Marjorie Ratcliffe, “Judíos y musulmanes en la jurisprudencia medieval Española,” Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos 9, no. 3 (1985).

45Tuck and Yang, “Decolonization is not a Metaphor,” 6, 8. Also see Philip J. Deloria, Playing Indian (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998).

46Costa, Intereses de España en Marruecos, 19.

47Enrique Dussel, The Invention of the Americas: Eclipse of “the Other” and the Myth of Modernity (New York: Continuum, 1995), 34.

48See Joshua Goode’s excellent reading of this problem through race, in Impurity of Blood: Defining Race in Spain 1870-1930 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2009). See also Stanley G. Payne’s critique of hispanism in this light, in Spain: A Unique History (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2011).

49For a global picture of barbarism in Europe during this time and the representation of the Spanish Civil War in this context, see Bernard Wasserstein, Barbarism and Civilization: A History of Europe in Our Time (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 257-268.

50Mazlish, Civilization and its Contents, 62.

51Jodi A. Byrd, The Transit of Empire: Indigenous Critiques of Colonialism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011). Also see Patricia Seed, Ceremonies of Possession in Europe’s Conquest of the New World, 1492-1640 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995).

Recibido: 19 de Junio de 2018; Aprobado: 27 de Junio de 2018

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