Author Archives: Katrina C

Discussion question 11/19

What are some themes or ideas in The Haitian Constitution that stick out to you? What biases do they reveal?

Some themes in The Haitian Constitution that stick out to me are the importance of freedom: of self and property. Also, the hatred of all French/ white men, but not women. It surprised me how much the preliminary declaration focused on the role of men/fathers. With the intense focus on men’s roles in society, it’s intriguing that there is no mention of women as they do not relate to marriage or families.

It is clear that the themes of The Haitian Constitution reveal racial and gender bias. After more thought, I suppose that article 13, naturalizing white women reveals that the men writing this Constitution saw white women as having no power or say in the enslavement of blacks. Which would likely mean that they dis not believe that the women in their new Haitian society should not have power or say in the laws.


Revised Research Idea

I have revised my research idea to encompass the general history of yerba maté in colonial Latin America, rather than just in Argentina because I think that might have been too specific (I was struggling to find good sources). It seems to be something that was adopted by the colonizers and I think that will lead to interesting accounts and findings on the role of maté in colonial society.

Primary source:

I can not find the actual letter, but according to Adalberto López, in “The Economics of Yerba Mate in Seventeenth-Century South America”,

Alonso de la Madrid to Governor Hernandarias, Asuncion, 10 February 1596, cited by Aguirre, Diario, 2: pt. 2, p. 359.

had written a letter about mate (a written account of mate in colonial Latin America).

If you could give me some guidance on how to find primary sources that would be really helpful; I tried for a while with no luck.

Secondary Sources:

Folch, Christine. “Stimulating Consumption: Yerba Mate Myths, Markets, and Meanings from Conquest to Present.” Comparative Studies in Society and History52, no. 1 (2009): 6–36.

Joyce, T. A. “Use and Origin of Yerba Maté.” Nature134, no. 3394 (1934): 760–62.

López, Adalberto. “The Economics of Yerba Mate in Seventeenth-Century South America.” Agricultural History 48, no. 4 (1974): 493-509.

Rodríguez‐Alegría, Enrique. “Eating Like an Indian.” Current Anthropology46, no. 4 (2005): 551–73.


Class Notes 9/16

Class Topic: First Reports

Historical Analysis:

  • How does the process of European “discovery” of the Americas unfold? How do Iberian explorers present New World territories to their rulers?
  • Historical Communication: How does Meléndez structure her chapter to communicate her argument?
  • Dr.Meléndez’s argument: How does material culture shape first impressions?
  • Textual Analysis: Columbus’ journal

Dr. Mariselle Meléndez

  • Professor of Colonial Spanish American literatures and Cultures at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Uses clothing as a “text” to understand colonial identities and power relationships

Writing Strategies:

  • Clear statement of argument at the beginning
  • Roadmap for chapter (not necessary for short essay)
  • Historiography:
    • They Say, I say strategy (page 18 engagement with Walter Mingolo)
  • Clearly states links between argument and evidence
  • Conclusion that reiterates central argument, explains the “so what?”

Christopher Columbus’

  • General misconceptions- people knew the earth was not flat, they just didn’t know the dimensions

German Views of Iberian Dress: Christoph Weiditz (1529)

  • emphasizes the colonialist viewpoint in writings
  • categories of difference
  • emphasis on women in culture: nudity, identity, power
  • the role of clothing in identity and power
    • Nudity in Catholicism:
      • Adam and Eve -> innocence
      • Sex (nudity = sexual available)

Research Question

What influence has the colonial era of Argentina had on modern day Argentinian society (culture, politics, language, values)?

I think this question in important to our understanding of colonial latin america, as through the answering of this question one could understand the roots that colonialism planted in the “new world” societies and how they’ve continued to have an effect to this day. I really enjoy this topic because it delves into the history of modern day Argentina, all the way back to colonial times. But, I also understand that it might not be what you’re looking for.

If that is not what youre looking for, an alternative question is:

What impact did the arguments of Las Casas have on the conquestidors and their future in Latin America?

I think that this question would be very interesting for our understanding of colonial latin america becuase Las Casas was one of the first docummented and powerful/respected man to stand up against the pratices of the conquestidors, as he recoginized the injustice beign done. Although he was not considered to have won the debate, it would be interesting to research his impact.

What I want to learn this semester

Last semester I took the course Readings in Latin America/ Spanish 224. A majority of the readings that were assigned for that class had to do with the topic of colonization of Latin America. We specifically discussed Bartolome de Las Casas and Sepulveda, and their arguments for and against colonizing Latin America. I found this portion of the class to be extremely interesting, and I’d love to learn more about their impact on colonial Latin America.

On a different note, I am studying abroad this spring in Argentina. The program that I am participating in is called Social Movements and Human Rights in Argentina. I thought that with taking this class I would better understand the history of Latin America as a whole, and specifically Argentina. Therefore, a research topic relating to Argentinian historical social movements would be a great fit for me.