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Grant number like: FA-52342-06

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Kathryn J. Burns
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC 27599-1350)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2006 – 6/30/2007

Truth and Consequences: Scribes and the Colonization of Spanish America

This project makes visible an enormous network of “invisible hands,” the Spanish and Native American scribes who left the documentary paper trail we use to write colonial Latin American history. Using an innovative mix of sources, including 16th-18th century Castilian notarial manuals, I place scribes in transatlantic historical context, showing how they produced a heavily scripted form of truth. I mine primarily Andean archives to show whose truth this was and the colonial interests it served. The project challenges historians to approach the archive itself as an historical artifact, shaped by power plays and unequal relationships.