Rereading the Black Legend: The Discourses of Religious and Racial Difference in the Renaissance Empires

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9780226307213: Rereading the Black Legend: The Discourses of Religious and Racial Difference in the Renaissance Empires

The phrase “The Black Legend” was coined in 1912 by a Spanish journalist in protest of the characterization of Spain by other Europeans as a backward country defined by ignorance, superstition, and religious fanaticism, whose history could never recover from the black mark of its violent conquest of the Americas. Challenging this stereotype, Rereading the Black Legend contextualizes Spain’s uniquely tarnished reputation by exposing the colonial efforts of other nations whose interests were served by propagating the “Black Legend.”
A distinguished group of contributors here examine early modern imperialisms including the Ottomans in Eastern Europe, the Portuguese in East India, and the cases of Mughal India and China, to historicize the charge of unique Spanish brutality in encounters with indigenous peoples during the Age of Exploration. The geographic reach and linguistic breadth of this ambitious collection will make it a valuable resource for any discussion of race, national identity, and religious belief in the European Renaissance.

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About the Author:

Margaret R. Greer is professor of Spanish and chair of the Department of Romance Studies at Duke University.
Walter D. Mignolo is the William H. Wannamaker Professor of Romance Studies and director of the Center for Global Studies and the Humanities at Duke University.
Maureen Quilligan is the Florence R. Brinkley Professor of English at Duke University.
     

Review:

“This book will be a major contribution to rereading not only the Black Legend but in navigating the very busy intersection of empire and racial and religious difference.  The authors deepen our understanding of how modern Western European practices of racialized discrimination developed in nuanced, nearly unimagined ways. Rereading the Black Legend, with its diverse essays, is about the formation of the world we live in today.”

(Davíd Carrasco, Harvard Divinity School 2007-06-20)

Rereading the Black Legend is a superbly organized collection that boldly traverses early modern imperialisms of Spain in the Americas, of the Ottomans in Eastern Europe, and of the Portuguese in East India and China. As a guide and critical reference work, it will be useful to undergraduate students and advanced scholars alike. I know of no comparable work currently available in academic publication, and I think it truly innovative in plan, scope, and approach.” (William J. Kennedy, Cornell University 2007-06-21)

"The book is particularly strong on its superbly documented study of the appropriation of racial and religious categories in the New World. As such, this courageous and most worthy scholarly volume makes signal contributions to our understanding of the links between race, religion, and imperial projects within the painful transition into the early modern world." (Teofilo F. Ruiz International History Review)

"A welcome addition to the growing range of texts that critically explore the enduring legacies, desired and undesired, of a past that continues to shape our present." (Shankar Ramen Renaissance Quarterly)

"[The editors] have put their talents to work in assembling a volume that will have a significant impact on early modern studies. This reader was humbled by the display of analytical prowess and the sheer volume of information on the interstices of race and religion in different settings throughout the early modern world. . . . An exceptional book that can and should be read by scholars and students of east and west, north and south, minority and dominant cultures."—Lisa Vollendorf, Clio (Lisa Vollendorf Clio)

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