S. Botta, Manufacturing Otherness: Missions and Indigenous Cultures in Latin America

Sergio Botta (ed), Manufacturing Otherness: Missions and Indigenous Cultures in Latin America, Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2013.

The discovery of the New World offered European civilisation the chance to generate a process of circulation of its own cultural values – the “spiritual conquest” – that has no comparable precedents. The missionary orders played an important role during this “Westernisation of the world,” not only as key players in the spread of Christian values, but also as mediators between different worlds. Indeed, missionary practices imposed the dominating culture’s values and institutions on the vanquished peoples. At the same time, they also promoted the circulation of new knowledge and the negotiation between different cultures during the age of a global integration of space. This book looks at the vast field of study concerning the history of missions from a specific viewpoint. Firstly, it focuses on “local” processes, singling out specific case studies to be used for a general reflection. On the other hand, it refocuses the attention on the Indigenous cultures – which the missionaries helped to bring to light in the field of Western history – showing how they succeeded in entering the areas of negotiation created by missionaries, and in producing their own cultural subjectivity.