Edited volumes are by definition a collective e√ort, yet this project owes
an especially great debt to others. Well before the project’s inception, our
advisers and fellow graduate students at the University of California, San
Diego, greatly influenced our thinking about Latin American history, its
changing historiography on race and identity, and the place of analytic
frameworks in historical interpretation. In particular, we wish to express
our gratitude to our graduate mentors, Eric Van Young and Dain Borges.
In 2004–2005, we began a series of informal conversations stemming
from our surprise that topics as central to the field of colonial Latin
American history as race and identity had not been the subject of a book
such as this one (with the exception of some well-known but rather dated
syntheses published several decades ago). Holed up in a hotel room in
downtown Seattle during the American Historical Association’s annual
meeting, we outlined a plan for bringing such a volume to fruition in the
hope of o√ering not only a representative sampling of current scholarship
but also an anticipation of the field’s future direction. The result of those
initial musings is this book.
Academic folklore abounds with ominous tales of edited book projects
that never quite got o√ the ground or were mired for years somewhere in
the middle of the editorial process, consuming in the process the life-
blood of those foolhardy enough to take on the helm. We are glad to
report that our experience could not have been more di√erent. Above all,
we have our contributors to thank for the project’s success. Their intel-
ligent, crisp, and (almost always!) timely drafts filled our journey with a
deep sense of scholarly purpose. Likewise, the encouragement and sup-
port that we received at Duke University Press from Valerie Millholland
and Miriam Angress made the editorial process a breeze. Irene Silverblatt
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