Lecture 2. Spanish Mexico: Evangelical Colonialism and the Encomienda System

The site for this lecture is the Presidential Palace, in Mexico City via Cordoba and Sevilla. This lecture will focus on the system of forced displacement using religious and urban architectures built over the remains of indigenous structures. The Spanish method of conversion and occupation requires that existing sites of power, be used as the foundations for new architectures of religion and political control. The Influence of mujedar architectures in New Spain will also be important to the new architectures in Mexico. In this global framing of history, we instead use as our point of entry the establishment of religious orders and their evangelical imperative of claiming for the Catholic Church the newly discovered human souls of the Americas. In this framing, the exuberance of the Baroque treatment of church architecture operates as an instrument of spreading the faith. It operates to compete with, displace, or subsume indigenous beliefs by dramatizing the rapture of the Christian faith.

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Lecture Notes