Travel, Experience, and Reflection: Readerly Topography in El Periquillo Sarniento
At the end of the colonial period in New Spain, with Mexican independence pending, Euro-Americans were about to emerge as the future Mexican ruling political class. In the last two decades of the eighteenth century, they were trapped in colonial hierarchies and, together with other social classes, were often represented in derogatory terms. Under colonial rule, subject to the power of laws whose purpose was the protection of the colonial order, the position of creoles (people of European origin born in Latin America), especially when contrasted with that of the gachupines (Spaniards living in America), suggested an ontological problem: being and, at the same time, not being Europeans, they were people in search of their name and face.1 Even if they were relatively privileged—as priests, lawyers, and military men—they fulfilled mainly administrative and ecclesiastical functions. The main question that determined their political and social agenda on the eve of independence was not how to maintain the existing difference, but how to construct a new one, how to replace the colonial difference with the national one, based on inclusion and reappropriation.2
KeywordsBurning Magnesium Europe Arsenic Assure
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