Colloquium Series Presentation: Irene Silverblatt

By Michael Cary, CLACS MA Student

On Monday, February 1st, CLACS inaugurated the Spring 2016 Colloquium Series with a presentation by Irene Silverblatt. The theme for this semester’s colloquium series is “Political Imaginaries Across Latin America and the Caribbean” and Silverblatt, a professor of cultural anthropology at Duke University, spoke on race thinking and Spanish colonial Peru.

Expanding upon the link Hannah Arendt made between 19th century European colonialism and 20th century fascism, she explained, “Race-thinking was at the core of colonial Peru’s cultural lens, which informed its bureaucratic matrix.” Analyzing the concept of “stained blood,” Silverblatt highlighted the ways that the conquest of Indians challenged the Spanish debate over “New Christians” as a racial and religious categorization adding that, “Disappearing histories meant that stripped down individuals were primed to take on race-based identities.” Her presentation was followed up with a response from NYU History Professor Sinclair Thomson and a brief Q&A with the audience.

You can watch the full video of the event below.


The next presentation in the Spring Colloquium Series will take place on February 22nd. Joshua Simon from Columbia University will talk about “The Ideology of Creole Revolution: Imperialism and Independence in American and Latin American Political Thought”. To learn more about Simon’s talk and register, click here.

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