Afro-Iberian Healers in Cartagena de Indias: Race and Gender in the Struggle to Define Imperial Urban Space

WhenOctober 29, 2018 12:00 PM - 1:20 PM
WhereFoster Hall, Room 103
Event Website
Contact InformationCenter for Latin American Studies
DescriptionKathryn McKnight, University of New Mexico

Seventeenth-century Cartagena de Indias exemplified the multiracial life of imperial Iberian port cities. Few European doctors served the newly cosmopolitan areas of empire that fostered alarming new experiences of climate, disease, and injury. Surgeons and herbalists of African descent competed for Iberian clients and played significant roles in defining the spaces of a port city vulnerable to all sorts of invasion. Europeans entrusted their ill bodies to casta healers while fearing death at the hands of those healers’ colleagues, who might be motivated to revenge by the slave system or by the internal tensions of European politics or marriages. This essay teases out the gendered competition among casta surgeons and herbalists who told stories with their words and movements through hospitals, jails, city walls, neighborhoods, churches, and homes of the port city. It draws especially on the trials of herbalist Paula de Eguiluz and surgeon Diego Lopez whose stories allay and arouse the fears of the Iberians they lived with and treated.

Cosponsored with the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.

Free and open to the public.
Light lunch will be served.

CategoriesConferences/Lectures, Lectures
Persons with disabilities who need an accommodation in order to participate in this event should contact the event sponsor for assistance.