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Criticla Paper march 4th - Bartolome de Las Casas is...

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Bartolome de Las Casas is undoubtedly one of the key figures in the history of Spanish colonization, variously lauded as a champion of indigenous rights, the "defender of the Indians," and the voice of Christian conscience. Daniel Castro's intention in Another Face of Empire is to produce a revisionist history of Las Casas's career and writings, challenging the reverential mythologies often attached to this prominent cleric and seeking to "separate historical reality from myth" (p. 5). But although his aims are worthwhile, in attempting to establish that Las Casas was not truly a reformer, but rather a "benevolent agent of Spanish political and ecclesiastical imperialism," Castro produces an anachronistic analysis that diminishes the agency of indigenous people in the colonial encounter (p. 15). This is a clearly-written and strongly-argued book (at times to the point of repetitiveness), and Castro convincingly deconstructs the mythologizing historiography surrounding Las Casas and his work, highlighting his paternalistic attitudes, his failure to engage directly with his
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