Theses Doctoral

Frontier Identities and Migrating Souls: Reconceptualizing New Religious and Cultural Imaginaries in the Iberian Worlds

Méndez-Oliver, Ana L.

This dissertation studies the presence of hybridity, in both text and images, as a way of representing the different ethnic groups that resided in the Iberian Peninsula in the texts outlined above, along with a number of late-fifteenth-century and sixteenth-century texts belonging to lay and religious culture. The category of hybridity in conjunction with the construction of spaces and counter-spaces present in the texts and images of my dissertation serve as the unifying principle of this study by providing a particularly fruitful case study of ethnic representations of Jews, conversos, Muslims and moriscos in late Medieval and Early Modern Iberian cultural studies.
The project highlights those images and spaces that began to be created in texts and illustrations representing Jews, conversos, Muslims and moriscos in the Spanish kingdoms in the decades that followed the statutes of blood purity in 1449, at a time when Spain’s national hegemonic project begins to emerge, and throughout the sixteenth century, during a time of imperial creation and expansion. In addition, it examines, particularly, how images previously used to depict Jews and Muslims in different textual and artistic traditions in the Middle Ages in order to illustrate religious differences began to be re-articulated in the second half of the fifteenth century to denote racial differences between that which was conceived of as autochthonous to the Iberian Peninsula, Christian and descendant of Visigoth, and that which gradually was perceived as threatening and foreign, Jews, conversos, Muslims and moriscos.
The selection of texts and images of this study provides an interdisciplinary and comprehensive sample of sources while studying their historical and textual specificity. Moreover, this dissertation establishes a dialogue between texts belonging to different traditions, diatribes, polemical works, propagandistic literature, poetry, legends, sermons, and historical texts in order to demonstrate how the images of hybrids, animals and monsters were employed as a rhetoric of exclusion in some circles but also became a tool used by some conversos and moriscos in order to advocate the inclusion of ethnic groups to the Spanish hegemonic national and imperial project.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Latin American and Iberian Cultures
Thesis Advisors
Grieve, Patricia E.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 8, 2017