About the Series
latin america otherwise: languages, empires, nations
is a critical series. It aims to explore the emergence and consequences of
concepts used to define ‘‘Latin America’’ while at the same time exploring
the broad interplay of political, economic, and cultural practices that have
shaped Latin American worlds. Latin America, at the crossroads of com-
peting imperial designs and local responses, has been construed as a geo-
cultural and geopolitical entity since the nineteenth century. This series
provides a starting point to redefine Latin America as a configuration of
political, linguistic, cultural, and economic intersections that demands a
continuous reappraisal of the role of the Americas in history, and of the
ongoing process of globalization and the relocation of people and cultures
that have characterized Latin America’s experience. Latin America Other-
wise: Languages, Empires, Nations is a forum that confronts established
geocultural constructions, rethinks area studies and disciplinary boundaries,
assesses convictions of the academy and of public policy, and correspond-
ingly demands that the practices through which we produce knowledge and
understanding about and from Latin America be subject to rigorous and
critical scrutiny.
The words and deeds of Father Bartolomé de Las Casas have invited
recurrent interpretations for nearly half a millennium. He has been por-
trayed as the saintly conscience of Spanish imperialism and adopted as the
father of Latin American liberation theology. In Another Face of Empire,
Daniel Castro seeks to complicate the picture of Las Casas created by his
hagiographers. Castro draws on Las Casas’s own extensive writings and
reappraises the consequences of the friar’s advocacy to provide a nuanced
portrayal of Las Casas as a historical agent. He also addresses what few
scholars have emphasized—the ways in which the Indians themselves con-
fronted Spanish domination and abuses. Another Face of Empire highlights
these strategies of resistance while showing how Spanish imperial policies
undermined attempts at reform.
Despite his strenuous efforts on the Indians’ behalf, Las Casas failed to
grasp the difficulties and contradictions in imposing an alien religious belief,
Christianity, on a people who already had their own highly developed re-
ligious beliefs, as well as forms of social, economic, and political organiza-
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