Boston, MLA 2013 Special Session

Individuals and groups that made up the multiethnic colonial society relied on the multifaceted petitionary genre to present their grievances and advance their claims before the Crown and the Church. The petition became an important legal medium through which members of the colonial society promoted their interests, shaped their identity and agency, and engaged in forms of early activism. The proposed paper-reading session aims to explore the various rhetorical, discursive and strategic uses colonial subjects such as Spaniards, Natives, and Mestizo/as made of petitionary media. Petitions were made to stake claims, advance social positions within the hierarchical society, and, at times, challenge and modify existing visions and divisions of the Spanish American colonial world.

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