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BOOK PRESENTATION of Exemplary Violence: Rewriting History in Colonial Colombia

118 Gilbert Hall

In Discourse on Colonialism, Aime Cesaire asserts that colonization ultimately works to decivilize the colonizer, awakening baser, brutalizing, and dehumanizing instincts in him. In Exemplary Violence: Rewriting History in Colonial Colombia, Villate-Isaza explores Colombia's violent colonial history by examining three seventeenth-century historical accounts of the New Kingdom of Granada (modern-day Colombia and Venezuela)-Pedro Simon's Noticias historiales (1626), Juan Rodriguez Freile's El carnero (1636), and Lucas Fernandez de Piedrahita's Historia general (1676) -each of which reveals the colonizing elite's reliance on a constant threat of violence for sustaining colonial order. In spite of their attempts to convey a straightforward narrative of European political, technical, and moral superiority while conforming to Counter-Reformation Catholic orthodoxy, these accounts reveal tensions and highlight conflicts and ambiguities between the writers' social interests and personal identifications. As they attempt to reinforce the principal tenets of European culture in the New Kingdom, they also reveal contradictions inherent in a "more advanced" culture when colonizers behave in barbaric ways.

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Personnel in this Event

Associate Professor of Spanish

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