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Reconsidering Colonial Discourse for Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Spanish America Author(s): Rolena Adorno Source: Latin

American Research Review, Vol. 28, No. 3 (1993), pp. 135-145 Published by: The Latin American Studies Association Stable URL: . Accessed: 20/11/2013 12:35
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I would like to commenton Seed's initial remarkthat in the late 1980s.H.121 on Wed.My remarksare necessarilylimitedby-and to-my own disciplinary perspective.: Edicionesdel Norte."' In literary in anthropological dimenstudies. and JoseMaria Arguedas. AngelRama. Ifone example will consider the splendid one of Angel Rama. "Colonial and PostcolonialDiscourse. I regretthatno historianor anthropologist has joined in this debate because it would have been illuto have reflections minating from theotherfieldson which Seed (herself a historian)has commented. no. Transculturaci6n narrativa en la Anmerica Latina(Mexico City: Siglo Veintiuno.RECONSIDERING DISCOURSE FOR COLONIAL SIXTEENTHAND SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY SPANISH AMERICA Rolena Adorno Princeton University Like the othertwo responses to PatriciaSeed's review essay. I agree thatwe have such points ofcontactand exchange. however. 135 This content downloaded from 200. 1982). 1.reconsidering to the studyof Spanish America in the sixteenthand seventeenthcenturies.interest and historical sions was alreadymuch in evidence by the late 1980s.N.2 His posthumous La suffice.and I appreciatetheopportunity to reflect on the issues she has raised. I was instructed by herviews on thesubject.includingthatofhistory(about which she has nothesitatedto be critical). The majorpointI would liketo discuss hereis thenotionofcolonial its applicability discourse. Patricia Research Review Seed. La ciudad letrada (Hanover. this one comes fromthe fieldof literary studies. 20 Nov 2013 12:35:12 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .Before doing so. One of the most salutaryeffects of Seed's review essay is that it provides a locus where those of us fromdifferent disciplines can come together to converse. she has takenthepositionthatwe share significantcommonthemesand talkingpoints. historiansand anthropologists became interestedin language-the rhetoricaland literary devices used to write ethnographiesand historiesand thatliterary scholarsbegan to take into account anthropologicalthein their examinations ofthetextsof"high oryand historical considerations culture. 3 (1991):181-200.89.1984). Courageouslywillingto make statements about various disciplinary practices. 2." LatinAmnericani 26.181.69.

I Perhaps because I am neithera historiannor an anthropologist.3His inquiryinto the ofLatinAmerican Narrative over thepast two centuriesis deeply shaping ofLatin Americannarrative in thetwenconcernedwiththerelationship ofanthropology to literature tiethcentury. 182). was somewhatsurprisedby Seed's commentthatthefieldsofhistoryand anthropologyhave recentlybecome dissatisfiedwith "traditionalcriticisms of colonialism. Politics. Seed states."In thelate 1980s. His profoundunderships among history. 136 This content downloaded from 200. "Paradigms of Conquest: History.A newhistory saw in early acting upondevastated Indians than andineffectually colonial more victimised protected objects something and paternalism. Indians toa marginal status inthemaking ofearly colonial history inspired efforts to write that a history wentbeyondthestory ofEuropeanvillains.Stern.89. Steve Stern has recently written: thatthe framework dissatisfaction of BlackLegend debateconsigned Finally. Formacion and anthropologicalways of thinking illuminated nacional indoamericana.and inadequate versionsof the encountersbetween thecolonizersand the colonized" (p. Steve J. For the study of the Andes. 1975). RobertoGonzalez Echevarria'sMythandArchive: A Theory comes to mind. Here. explored with extraordinary and literature. at least. en la America Latina. 1990). studies whose themes were eithernative or manipulativeaccommodation.4 Formaci6n de una culturanacionalindoamericana.which viewed Rama's 1982 Transculturacion narrativa Latin Americanliterary productionin the lightofmore general processes and principlesofculturaladaptationand innovation. adaptations. heroes. mighthave been thinkingof literaryscholars in the United States. RobertoGonzAlez Echevarria.which offered perspicacitythe relationAmericanhistory. 20 Nov 2013 12:35:12 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 4. this dissatisfaction surfaced much earlierand was addressed by the work thatbegan in the 1960s and continuedthroughthe 1980s. 28-29. 3. edited by Angel Rama (Mexico City: Siglo Veintiuno. but theiranthropologicaland historicalinterestsalso predate the end of the decade just past. work of JoseMaria Arguedas standing of the ethnographicand literary de una cultura yielded his 1975 anthologyof Arguedas's essays.and microbes and pliable Indians. anthropology.121 on Wed.AmongLatinAmerithis was not a new trendof the 1980s.Mythand Archive:A Theory ofLatinAmerican Narrative (Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press. and oftrauma It sought to explore Indianagency. resistance these tales of resistance and accommodationwere being perceived increasinglyas mechanical. a colonialframework It of oppressive powerand mortality.homogenizing.Historiography.LatinAmerican Research Review a powerfultheoryand critiqueofLatin ciudadletrada (1984). Seed can criticsand intellectuals. QuincentennialSupplement (1992):1-34."Journal of LatinAmerican Studies24." that is. esp. Withthis timeframein mind.69. responseswithin to unearth theimpact ofAmerindian initiative colonial social on theearly sought order as a whole.

Among thebooks reviewedby Seed.and I would look forward think. PeterHulme. tury. to herresponse to myreadingofit.Karen Spalding. 137 This content downloaded from 200.deftly demonstrating 5. ColonialEncouinters: and theNativeCaribbean. 1982). and Huarochiri.:PrincetonUniversity Press. 1492-1797(New York Europe and London: Routledge. I would like to move on now to other general issues centralto literary studies. Peter literary Hulme's ColonialEncounters exemplifiesthis approach. yet she seems not to consider the interestin language as a cause of new dissatisfactions but merely a simultaneous development. 20 Nov 2013 12:35:12 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 1988).This. Reflecting again on Seed's remarks.:StanfordUniversity Press.5For this appears that'sheis suggestingthatby thelate 1980s. and causality:I wish thatSeed One last pointregarding chronology had discussed the reasons forher view thatnarrativesof resistance and in the late 1980s.Calif.6 In exploringthe paradoxes of colonial situationsfrom1492 throughthe eighteenthcenhe juxtaposed Shakespeare's The Tempest.Stern.N. these studies examine writtenculturalproductions that lie beyond the canons ofhighculture. De indioa camnpesino: camnbios en la estructura social del Perucoloniial (Lima: Institutode Estudios Peruanos. and literary ingtendency understandanthropological. On readingSeed's essay. the assertionthat"narrativesof resistanceand accommodation were losing credibility" overstatesor overgeneralizesthe case. Furthermore. Karen Spalding. JohnSmith'saccounts of thatthe peculiarPocahontas. I is a pointverywell taken. 1550-1900 (Princeton. 1984). She identifies accommodationwere losing credibility thisperiod as thetimewhen historiansand anthropologists became interested in language (p. ings out of the ways in which language was manipulated in particular sensitivesettingsof the cross-cultural contactsofcolonialism. A common threadamong thesebooks is the attempt to articulate textwithevent and language with change and to recognize the writtenword as not merely reflective of social practices but in factconstitutive ofthem.Chapman. an awareness was growingthatsocial and economicanalysis had to be augmentedby linguisticand culturalconsiderations. and Steve J.COMMENTARY AND DEBATE itwould be difficult Frankly.89. and I thinkshe suca collectivediscussion of them. and Robinson Crusoe. BrookeLarson.69. Four of the fivetitles ceeded in justifying make theexamination oflanguage their focus and reflect thegrowclearly to tease historical.Peru'sIndianPeoples and theChallenge ofSpanishConquest(Madison: University ofWisconsinPress.I marveled at the diversecollection of books she broughttogetherto commenton. 1986). worksthatI would identify withthe themesSeed mentions. 181). to proceed withany sortofcultural or literary studyinvolvingautochthonous Andean societyor consciousness without intoaccountstudieslikethoseofStern. and Hall. an AndeanSociety under Inca and SpanishRule (Stanford. and Brooke taking Larson.I would look forwardto her clarification of this part of her argument. 1974).121 on Wed. 6. Colonialism andAgrarian Transformation in Bolivia:Cochabamnba.

89.. To put the matteranotherway. . nos. fromwhich follows the conclusionthatwritings ofall types-whetherpopular or elite. Fromtheviewpointofscholars who take this position (myselfamong them).That is. 1-2 (1993):53-92. I merelyunderscoreand redirect the concept of the opacity of language (p. It has less to do with the disappearance of the subject or dismissingauthorialintention or originalmeanings (about which I will commentlater) than with a more fundamentalobservationwith which Seed it slightly.For example. Natives local to the area oftenact as witnesses to corroborate theproceedings.foundin the "Idolatrias" section of the Archivo Arzobispal de Lima? More subtly.and RolenaAdorno. emphasize thefirst. WalterMignolo and I wish to addresses the second of these claims in his commentary.the judgeinspectorsends out the corregidor'sdeputy along with surveyorsand a notary. sion to give the claimantsless land than had been orderedby the inspectorjudge.7Accordingto colonial practice. no clear dichotomyexists between document and textinsofaras both require the same kinds of analysis and scrutiny. the Peruvian authorof the Nueva cor6nica y buengobierno (1615). intelThis leads me to my assessment ofthe single most important lectual development of the past decades concerning cross-disciplinary exchange.what is involved in any mundane transactionthatwe read today as part of the colonialdocumentary record?Taketheexampleofthecomposicion de tierras.highculture informaor low-function as texts. This example comes from myanalysis ofthenewlypublished recordofland-title litigations in which Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala.Accompanyingthem is a native who translatesback and forthbetween the native claimants interpreter The corregidor'sdeputy makes the deci(or occupants) and the officials. and the explanationby which the deputy justifieshis decision citestherichnessofthelands assigned and thecontentment and commitmentof the native claimantsto the disposition. Can such a reportbe takenat facevalue-as a documentary record 7. . This is begins her discussion. Colonial situations offerno shortage of examples fromwhich to argue that archival documentsneed to be scrutinizedwith the same skepticaleye turnedon worksmorecommonlydesignated as texts." Review(New ColonialLatinAmerican York)2.the documentarymay be included under the rubricof textuality as one ofits manysubtypes. 20 Nov 2013 12:35:12 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . See Y no ay remnedio . not all textsare written. popular. or mundane. was a plaintiff.LatinAmerican Research Review ities of colonial ideologies are best revealed by moving among writings categorizedas canonized. "The Genesis of the Nueva cor6nica y buengobierno. 183). notionsabout communicating tionand description are set aside in favor ofexaminingverbalproductions fortheirassertiveand interpretive values. straightforis thetestimony ward and transparent given in a trial.121 on Wed. or confirmation of land titles.1991).these are the Spanish officials.69. 138 This content downloaded from 200. edited by Elias and Alfredo PradoTello(Lima: Centrode Investigaci6n y Promoci6n Amaz6nica.

" Revistade CriticaLiteraria Latinoamericana.including"Discourses on Colonialism:BernalDiaz. "The Cuautla Lazarus: Double Subjectivesin Reading Textson Popular Review(New York)2.meanings are produced. "colonial discourse. 139 This content downloaded from ofthemostinfluential essays on thequestion of language as a signifying systemnot necessarilyconfinedto the alphabeticwas Barthes's Mythologies (1957). translatedby RichardHoward (Evanston."9 Cast in thelanguage ofliterary thishistotheory. rian'sinsight makes a valuable contribution to cross-disciplinary exchange.89. I turn now to the firstof the related concepts that guide Seed's thatof "colonial and postcolonial discourse. To be not only theoretically enlightenedbut also historicallyresponsibleis a twingoal worthpursuing. In addition.COMMENTARY AND DEBATE of what transpired. EricVan Young.8 How widely this emphasis on the opacity of language has been taken seriouslyis not clear to me.69.: NorthwesternUniversity Press)." Mignolo's commenarticle. quote Roland Barthes. Ill. Van Young makes an importantqualificationin consideringwhat he calls "the textuality of the document": "[I]t is not so muchthatwe have a set offloating as thattheyare anchored so signifiers. CollectiveAction. no."textuality" is a critical categorythat implies a set of operations to be performedon the accountbeing examinedrather than a configuration ofelementsthatcharacterizesthe account itself."testing theirapplicabilityto Spanish America of the sixteenthand seventeenthcenturies.however. and theTwentieth-Century Reader. precisely to avoid divorcingtexts fromthe circumstancesthatproduced them-however irretrievable these circumstances may be."Modernl Language Notes. 1972). but it does seem to have been considered widelyenough to have generatedsome debate. See Barthes. I have used the concept in severalofmy publications. 28 (1988):11-27.I used to embraceitenthusiastically. In reflections.263.While I now question blanketuse of the term"colonial 10Although discourse"forthisperiod.Seen as text. In additionto Seed's a new articleby historianEric Van Young comes to mind. Las Casas.any stable configuration of semioticsigns is less a thingthan part of the process of significationtheprocess by which. was witnessed."and I wish to put into question thenotionsofthe"colonial" and."ColonialLatinAmerican 10. his examinationof the record of an 1812 criminalprosecutionforinsurIndian named JoseMarcelino Pedro Rodriguez gencyagainst an illiterate in Cuernavaca. but only after thedocumentto the same kindofscrutiny submitting thatone would give to a writtentextjudged a priori to be a gesture of assertion and than as simple descriptionand then assessing it in interpretation rather lightofcomplexextratextual factors. firmly and narrowlyin singularcircumstancesthattheirmeaning is obscureor unrecoverable. nos.121 on Wed.In thisrespect. and "Nuevas perspectivasen los estudios coloniales hispanoamericanos. and agreed upon? Perhaps. 20 Nov 2013 12:35:12 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . translated by AnnetteLavers (New York:Hill and Wang.CriticalEssays. In myview. Roland Barthes. Ifthe"linguistic turnin thehuman sciences" is to mean anything to scholars in literary it is studies. consequently.Mythologies. 36-38 (1989). I 8. 1-2 (1993):3-26. Mexico. 9. tarychallengesthe notionof "discourse. 103 (1988):239-58. Walter Mignolo and I edited a volume ofDispositio entitled"Colonial Discourse." nos.

89.11 I am less sanguine about thefixedconcept of "colonial discourse. Adorno. gender sexuality sect.itrepresents no less thanhalfa millennium.121 on Wed. posit comprehensiveapproaches.69.while for many ofus thefocus ofour thecolonial their workis primarily context. I will begin withsome generalobservationsand thenproceed to more specific commentsregardingitsuse formy own fieldofstudy.""interdisciplinary") an object of study("colonialism"). and dialogic practicesthatpermitus to transcend theold certainties of an earlierliterary historyand contemplatethe messiness ofcacaphonic worlds. 1 (Dec.Ifwe look at thisglobalizingnotionacrosstime. ofdomination where interand/or systems race. The statement of the GCSCD likewise suggests a culturalpoliticsby focusingon issues of racialor culturaldifin writings thatithas identified ference as discoursesof domination. 140 This content downloaded from 200. One ofour problemstodayis thatthereare hopelessly manydisciplinaryand subdisciplinary conversations going on. Our academic world is fragmented in a trulypostmodernsense. and attempt to transcend theconfinesofour particular narrowpurview. 20 Nov 2013 12:35:12 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . The GCSCD statement emphasizes a long timespan and takesinto accountcolonial and postcolonialperspectives. We oftendo not know what othercolleagues are doing. is notrestricted towork period. 12. Thus."13-15." RecentlyI have begun to findit wanting. thecolonial legacy intheWest. Mignolo views it as thelatterand suggests thatSeed mightbe treating it as both. assumingas a starting pointtheoceanic voyagesofPortugaldown thewest coast of Africain the fifteenth centuryand ending with today's postcolonial11.12 Given such a statement. 182) impliesequally an approach ("critique. I agree thatSeed treatscolonial discourseas botha fieldand an approach because herdefinition ofitas "an emergent ofcolonialism" interdisciplinary critique and (p. the question arises as to whether"colonial discourse" is a fieldofstudyor a series ofrelatedapproaches. others in thenetwork are extending and contemporary inquiry toex-colonial societies.ethnicity. no."Colonial discourse"strikes me as just such a tool.We are alwayson the lookoutforwhat can serve as a lingua franca. which is preciselywhat leads us to reach out forcommonalities. interactive. The objectivesofthenew networkwere statedas follows: Thisbulletin is an attempt to linkthosewhosework critically examines historical and analytical discourses ofdomination wherethesediscourses addresscultural and racial Thenetwork in anyone historical differences." held at the Universityof Essex in July1984. "Nuevas perspectivas. noranyone discipline orfield. Iniscriptionis.LatinAmerican Research Review standby myunderstanding ofthediscursiveas representing polyvocality and synchronic. and I thinkSeed's positionreflects well theguiding sentimentsof the Group for the Critical Study of Colonial Discourse (GCSCD). 1985):1.class. which grew out ofthe Sociology ofLiterature Conference"Europe and Its Others.

nos. Ibid."13 Klor de Alva goes on to argue that this post-1760s situation. "Colonialism and Postcolonialism from p. 16. Considering the idea spatially. Ibid. combined with the dramaticdecline in the indigenous population. Such sweeping grandeuris exhilarating in some ways. especially those largely self-sufficient communitieswhich. but I have foundthatforthe studyof sixteenthand seventeenth-century Spanish America." has been applied retrospectively first two and a halfcenturiesof Spanish dominionin America. the specific conmodernand critical notationswe give to these interrelatedterms [colonialism and imperialism] come fromthe experiencesof the non-Spanish European colonial powers. 141 This content downloaded from 200. Reviezw (New York)1. slaves. especiallyBritain. Spain's mercantile empire was one in which the metropoleswere primarily buyers and consumers of theirforeignpossessions' commodities.most social groupings not devastated by epidemics or forced labor continued their lives in much the same way as theyhad priorto contactwiththe everyday Europeans.69.89.are inappropriateforshaping ideas about the experienceof Spanish America fromthe sixteenththroughthe mid-eighteenth centuries:"Evidently. and domesticproduction." 13.we discover thatthe referential worlds of colonial and postcolonial discourse include culturesand societiesas diverseas those oftheIndians of South Asia and the "Indians" of South America. In his provocativeinquiryinto notionsof colonialismand theirapplicabilityto inventionsof the study of colonial experiences in the nineteenthand twentieth centuries. A recentchallenge to such all-encompassingapproaches to colonialism has been made by the anthropologist Jorge Klor de Alva.COMMENTARY AND DEBATE isms throughout the world.121 on Wed. Jorge Klor de Alva. 1-2 (1992):3-23.Immigrants or official aristocracy as (Latin) AmericanMirages. 17 15. based on subsistenceagriculture were poor marketsformanufactured goods.with the metropolisexploitingareas thatsupplied precious metals. produced by the second half of the sixteenthcentury and cross-cultural "widespread intermarriage mating[that]were generating new ethnic communities"withoutsignificant metropolitanconnecwho were notpartofthemerchant tions. accordingto Klor de Alva. 20 Nov 2013 12:35:12 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .the mass immigration of European settlers.such an expanse risksoffering too much too easily and at too greata cost. citation ColonialLatinAmerican a consequence oftheirprimarily Old World experiencesbeginning in the second half of the eighteenthcentury. and tropical products: "Though all of this was extremely disruptive.Klor de Alva argues thatthe critical concepts and theories of colonialism."15 At the same time..14 During thatearlyperiod.when the European colonies (includingSpanish Americaunder theBourbons) "bemodifiedto servetheinterests oftheindustrializgan to be fundamentally and anachronistically to the ing core. J.

and he returnedto Spain after the conquest ofMexico only twice.and I would like to suggest a critique. 142 This content downloaded from 200.Bernal Diaz provides a good example. constituted thebackbone of the criollista societythatlearned to loathe the power of the distantancestralhomeland over theirlives. Froma social and economicpoint ofview. Bernal Diaz was perfectly contentto remain far away from the metropolis. All thesechanges resultedin modifications in land tenureand ownership as well as "the implementation offorcedand coerced wage labor forcommercialagriculture and mining.. Bernal Diaz was him neithera colonial nor a creole but a Castilian. His world of reference forprestigewas thatof the reconquest of Spain from the Muslims. thatexamines the writingsproduced about or fromSpanish America in the sixteenth and seventeenthcenturies..89.and and commercialagriculture. Bernal Diaz could not have imagined the strugglesofhis descendants who in theeighteenth as Americansofseveralgenerations. implied a shifttoward commerce.industry.parallelingthatof Klor de Alva. preclude lumping togetherthe symbolicpracticesof all variationsof European domination over otherpeoples and places across fivecenturies.LatinAmerican Research Review were transplanted Europeans or theirdescendants.the introduction of monetarypayments.but we must do so by taking into considerationthe conceptual mediationsand historicaltransfor- 16. the reductionof home industry."'17 Such fundamentaldifferences. 18.121 on Wed.69. it seems to me. If we cannot identify as a representative of a colonial society. Ibid. he had no serious relationshipwith the metropolisand wanted to be leftalone by it. we cannot not studyhim throughthe eyes of postmoderism. theapplicability of"colonialdiscourse"to sixteenthOn considering centurySpanish America. century. is itpossible to examine themwitha set ofcommonapproaches and shared assumptions?I thinknot. he exemplifies the principlesoutlined by Klor de Alva. once in 1540 and again in 1550.Ifthe objects of study differ so much one from another.can we studyhis writingsusing the criticalassumptions of postmodernism?In my view. 17. and success meant the comfortable independence thatan old soldiercould achieve by settling in territories grantedto him by royal decree. who were "relatively disconnected"from themetropolis16 These conditionsdiffered greatly from those ofthemid-eighteenth centuryonward. which were geared towardreorganizingthe colonies as marketsand consumers of the goods manufacturedin the centers. 20 Nov 2013 12:35:12 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . His goal was to achieve economicprosperity forhimselfand his heirs.Livingoutside themerchant and official aristocracy. and the restriction of productionand exportation by natives. 17 Ibid.and he was fairly successful.

which he hoped to portrayas more glorious than any in Castilianhistory. not dismissing-the "subject of authority. I am therefore suspicious of the dangers of calling every act of writingby sixteenthand authorslikeEl Inca Garcilaso de la Vega or Sor Juana seventeenth-century Ines de la Cruz "subversive."It maybe our current impulse to undermine and subvertthe traditional heroes of humanism and imperialism. we need themnotforthe purpose of takingthemat facevalue and assimilatto juxtapose themwithwhat the writing ing thembut rather subject actuallyset out to do. Thus althoughpoststructuralism authority.but to attribute thesame to theliterary minds oftheseventeenth century ignores or underestimates the social and artistic criticism thatintellectuals in any period tend to practice. and "originalmeaning" but in a decidedlycontemporary fashion.18The 18. we stillneed theconcepts ofauthorialintentions Furthermore. which always differs from how we assess whathe or she actuallyaccomplished.a distantrelative oftheSpanish Baroque poet Luis de G6ngora.121 on Wed.Here we profit from poststructuralism's critiqueof "the sovereign subject as author" and do not dismiss but ratherwork throughthe author'sdeclared intentionsto determinehis or her hidden agendas. Bernal Diaz was among the writerswho definedwhatwas unique about Spain's earlyexperiencein America.and power" (p. One ofthebest examples from Spanish Americanintellectual and literary historyof a transitional looks both backward and forward. legitimacy. 20 Nov 2013 12:35:12 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . may question the traditional humanism and expose its heroes (which may well be our approach to twentieth-century intellectuallife).we cannot attribute the same sensibilitiesto these early modern voices.69. the new poststructural sensibility implies the disappearance of the subject and the dismissal of authorial intentionsor meanings (p. 194). 184). Nevertheless.and he soughtpreciselyto impose himself as a writing subjectimbued withlegitimacy. As described by PatriciaSeed. My point is thatonly fromthe eighteenthcenturyonward can we speak of "colonial discourses" emergingfromSpanish America. BernalDiaz exemplifies theamateurwriter whose achievements fartranscendedhis efforts: he created an eternallyvivid picture of sixNew Spain where he had intended only to set the record teenth-century and lobby for rewards concerninghis role in a certain war of straight conquest. and power.COMMENTARY AND DEBATE mationsthatseparateus from the sixteenth century. 143 This content downloaded from 200. An obvious example ofa creoleintellectual who can be identified withthe world of colonial discourse would be the Mexican friar and patriot FrayServando Teresa de Mier (1763-1827).who Janus-like is the Mexican creole writer Carlos Siguenza y G6ngora (1645-1700). figure.89. the characteristic "colonial" voices and perspectives of Spanish America in the sixteenthand seventeenthcenturiesstand out insofaras they' seek to oppose-for the purposes of replacing. Let me tryto explain whatI mean. That is.

Tzvetan Todorov. she faults Pastorforwhatare preciselyhervirtues. . and Stephen Greenblatt. ically. Ill. Beatriz Pastor. If the "perspectiveremains whollyEuropean" and "the natives in these narratives remain a blank slate" (Seed.and in working froma theoretical groundingthatdoes not requirethe writingsshe studIn his ies to respond to perspectivesthattheycould not possibly reflect. Consider workslikeTzvetan Todorov'sLa Conhave been smitten qu^tede l'Ame'rique (1982) or Stephan Greenblatt'sMarvelousPossessions ento the unique character of cross-cultural (1991). 19 Seed's characterization of Pastor's work is illuminating inasmuch as Seed's judgmentof it reveals thatthe expectationsof the "colonial discourse" purview are inappropriateto the field in question.LatinAmerican Research Review world of royalist.and literary history. 144 This content downloaded from 200.even reactionary desire for the returnof traditionalmedieval Hispanic values" (p. 1988). 188).69. point in a different way. . translated by RichardHoward (New York: Harper and Row. Overall. Thus when Pastor'sstudyas a "less theoretically Seed characterizes sophisticatedcritique ofthe politicaldimensions of conquest stories"than PeterHulme's.: University ofChicago Press.cultural. (Hanover.2o Such works testify 19.MarvelousPossessions:The Wonder ofthe New World (Chicago. Thatveryirrelevance is neverthelessa source offascination. Pastorhas been historically responsibleand used excellent theoretical judgmentin two ways: in confining her studyto a recognizableand coherent phase of Spanish political. p.I would cite Seed's discussion ofBeatrizPastor'sbook. 20 Nov 2013 12:35:12 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .: Ediciones del Norte. 1991).Seed is correct that"all of the formsof critiqueidentified by Pastor .temporally. 20. In this regard. and chivalricvalues inhabitedby Bernal Diaz. Hernan Vidal makes thisimportant commentary. it is because Pastorcould notresponsiblyhave teased out-from eitherAlonso de Ercillaor Cabeza de Vaca-debates on racialand culturaldifference of the type requiredby a "colonial discourse"critiquerelevantto latertimes. Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz. courtly.Scholars who habituallystudythe Hispanic world and even those who do not withit. 188). Discursosnarrativos de la conquista:mitificaci6n y emergencia. geographand culturally.The ConquestofAmerica.N. PatriciaSeed's remarksabout Pastor's book have helped me realize thata historically situatedconcept of colonial discourse correstudies and allied areas ofcultural critisponds mainlyto those in literary que who are concerned with the Anglo-European worlds of colonialism and postcolonialism. Cabeza de Vaca. and even culturally mestizo writers like Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl is foreignto the "discourses of domination" in which the battlegroundis the site of racialand culturaldifferences.Spain and its possessions in the sixteenthand seventeenthcenturiesare irrelevant to thatparadigm.H.121 on Wed. 2d ed. Hernan Cortes. 1984). clearlyreside withinthe limitsestablishedby sixteenth-century Spanish politicalorthodoxy"and that"these critiquesare thus imbued with a nostalgic.89.

Whereas the colonial has been generalized to a broad termdiscourse can be off-putting. 20 Nov 2013 12:35:12 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .COMMENTARY AND DEBATE counterthattheexperienceof Spain represents.but it has also led to an erroneous sense of sameness that. These worksreaffirm stands outside the quintessentialcolonial experience:it is not typicalbut in character. discoursehas spent itself. in our academic culturalpolitics.we can be more critical and seventeenthcenturies. Nevertheless.about twenty and sixteenhistorians.121 on Wed.It is to Seed's creditas a historian anthropologists. different or atypical. Yet theoryand philosoits originsin literary of "discourse"reflects therubric excludes many scholars of colonialismwho do not find phy and in effect theirown disciplinarypracticesreflectedby the concept.even as theyappropriate it in orderto explore the authors' own ethical concerns about the twenmyconviction thatearlymodernSpain tiethcentury. has come to conceal more than it criticism reveals. 145 This content downloaded from 200.Yetthe to takea positionon intellectual trendsofan interdisciplinary dimensionof "colonial discourse"is open to debate.69. and geographyreenterthe arena (Klor de Alva's arguonce historicity For the case of Spanish of its applicability.and distinctly rather prototypical a useful serOn balance. The interdisciplinary first bulletinofthe GCSCD counted among itsmemberssome eighty-five scholarsin literary studies (plus eightmore in filmand art). spectrumof situationsand used in a varietyof disciplines.I thinkthatcolonial Americain the sixteenth ecumenizingpurpose It served a legitimizing. Hence I share Hernan Vidal's concerns about a literary thatruns theriskofbecomingtechnocratic. I thinkthatPatriciaSeed has performed to the notionof "colonial discourse" and using it vice by callingattention sort. ment).like so many labels. thatshe has joined in the discussion and taken strongpositions in it.89.