Iberian imperialism was one of the first attempts to link the globe through supposedly universal values, in this case derived from Christianity. Yet Spanish and Portuguese monarchies strove to achieve this global reach with technological, scientific, and juridical practices that accompanied and at times competed with their evangelical pursuits. These attempts to overhaul vast cultural territories between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries resulted in a variety of consequences and responses, from absolute upheavals, to compromises and new syntheses. The purpose of this core program is to examine the radical changes that Iberian empires brought to areas such as land tenure, technological practices, racial classifications, and cultural expression in light of the deep histories of the indigenous, African, and Asian regions they affected. Through this investigation, we wish to arrive at a more precise concept of globalization in its early modern guise.
Session 1—Contested Cultures of the Sacred
This conference will address the role of religion in the transformation of pre-Hispanic, African and Asian worlds into Westernized milieus. It will address Christianity not as dogma but as a flexible corpus of ideas and practices engaged by the different local populations in novel ways. Sessions may investigate the relationship between religion and the arts (theater, painting, music) as a source of popular culture that remains significant even now. Likewise, since evangelization had the double task of Christianizing and civilizing the native populations, another field covered will be the impact of religion, both Christian and native, in a variety of non-religious practices and institutions such as knowledge production, the university, and politics. Through these themes, the conference will question the sharp divide between a religious and a secular base for modern societies.
UCLA Center for Seventeenth- & Eighteenth-Century Studies
10745 Dickson Plaza, 310 Royce Hall
Los Angeles, California 90095-1404
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