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Products for grant FA-52342-06

Truth and Consequences: Scribes and the Colonization of Spanish America
Kathryn Burns, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Grant details:

Into the Archive: Writing and Power in Colonial Peru (Book)
Title: Into the Archive: Writing and Power in Colonial Peru
Author: Kathryn Burns
Editor: Duke University Press
Abstract: Writing has long been linked to power. For early modern people on both sides of the Atlantic, writing was also the province of notaries, men trained to cast other people’s words in official forms and make them legally true. These men had a dismal reputation for falsehood and greed, yet Spaniards and other colonizers of the Americas could not do without notaries and the archives they created. Contemporary scholars also rely on this vast paper trail to make sense of the Latin American past. How then to approach the question of notarial truth? Kathryn Burns argues that the archive itself must be historicized. Examining the practices that shaped document making in colonial Cuzco, she depicts notaries as businessmen whose products conformed to local “custom” as well as Spanish templates, and clients as knowledgeable consumers with strategies for getting what they wanted. In this inside story of the early modern archive, Burns offers a wealth of possibilities for seeing sources in fresh perspective.
Year: 2010
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