E24: Body of the Conquistador: Early European Social Control in the Americas (w/ Professor Rebecca Earle)
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On this episode, Professor Rebecca Earle and I discuss early forms of social control in the Americas. Professor Earle studies the history of food and focuses on the Spanish conquest. She describes what “policing” might have looked like in 1492 and how the diets of European and Native populations were used as a tool of statecraft. We also discuss the creation of race during the early conquest and how we are living with those consequences today.   

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Description from Amazon:

“This fascinating history explores the dynamic relationship between overseas colonisation and the bodily experience of eating. It reveals the importance of food to the colonial project in Spanish America and reconceptualises the role of European colonial expansion in shaping the emergence of ideas of race during the Age of Discovery. Rebecca Earle shows that anxieties about food were fundamental to Spanish understandings of the new environment they inhabited and their interactions with the native populations of the New World. Settlers wondered whether Europeans could eat New World food, whether Indians could eat European food and what would happen to each if they did. By taking seriously their ideas about food we gain a richer understanding of how settlers understood the physical experience of colonialism and of how they thought about one of the central features of the colonial project. The result is simultaneously a history of food, colonialism and race.”

From Professor Earle’s Faculty Page:

https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/history/people/staff_index/earle/

“I am a historian of food, and of the cultural history of Spanish America and early modern Europe. I am interested in how ordinary, every-day cultural practices such as eating or dressing, or even using postage stamps, shape how we think about the world. My early work was rooted in a very specific part of the world (southern Colombia). These days I tend to study the movement of ideas and practices across larger geographies.

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