Approaches to Teaching the Writings of Bartolomé de Las Casas

  • Editors: Santa Arias, Eyda M. Merediz
  • Pages: xiv & 284 pp.
  • Published: 2008
  • ISBN: 9780873529457 (Paperback)
  • ISBN: 9780873529440 (Cloth)
Approaches to Teaching the Writings of Bartolom de Las Casas Cover

“This volume brings Las Casas’s bold debates into twenty-first-century classrooms. It meets an urgent and long overdue need with contributions of high quality and extraordinary usefulness across a wide spectrum of multidisciplinary and multilingual perspectives in the humanities.”

—Maureen Ahern, Ohio State University

The work of Bartolomé de Las Casas poses a number of challenges in the classroom: students need help seeing the relevance of a sixteenth-century Dominican missionary to their lives, understanding his colonial-imperial context, and negotiating the apparent contradictions among his evangelizing and his varying stances on Indian and black slavery in the New World. The essays gathered in this volume show teachers how to introduce and engage with Las Casas—one of the first voices to criticize European treatment of the native populations of the Americas and crucial today to studies of imperialism, colonialism, and human rights—in a wide range of courses, undergraduate and graduate.

Like all volumes in the Approaches series, this collection includes a convenient survey of original and supplementary materials and a comprehensive array of classroom tactics. The first group of essays incorporates Las Casas into the interdisciplinary classroom, while the next group focuses on teaching the Las Casas text most widely used in literature courses: the Brevísima relación de la destrucción de las Indias, a dramatic, largely firsthand view of colonial violence. The essays that follow explore the Spanish friar’s letters, treatises, and petitions to the Crown; locate his connection to such broader issues as independence movements in Latin America, inter-European politics, abolition, and human rights; and suggest ways of teaching him alongside colonial figures such as Christopher Columbus and within the literary traditions of a variety of nations and languages.

Rolena Adorno
Melvin S. Arrington, Jr.
Erik Camayd-Freixas
Lawrence A. Clayton
Lúcia Helena Costigan
Viviana Díaz Balsera
Angelica Duran
Regina Harrison
Jonathan Hart
Ruth Hill
Carlos A. Jáuregui
Sara L. Lehman
Laura A. Lewis
Kathleen Ann Myers
Kristy Nabhan-Warren
Song No
José Rabasa
Luis Fernando Restrepo
Verónica Salles-Reese
Elizabeth Sauer
Thomas Scanlan
David F. Slade
Karen Stolley
Cynthia L. Stone
Gustavo Verdesio
Margarita Zamora

Preface to the Series (ix)

Acknowledgments (xi)

Introduction (1)

PART ONE: MATERIALS

Santa Arias and Eyda M. Merediz

Texts and Editions (9)

Las Casas in Literature (12)

Las Casas Online (13)

The Instructor’s Library (14)

PART TWO: APPROACHES

Teaching Las Casas across the Disciplines

The Intellectual Life of Bartolomé de Las Casas: Framing the Literature Classroom (21)

Rolena Adorno

Teaching Las Casas through the Lens of the Historian (33)

Lawrence A. Clayton

Pedagogical Uses of Las Casas’s Texts for Anthropologists (42)

Laura A. Lewis

The Place of Las Casas in Religious Studies (48)

Kristy Nabhan-Warren

Teaching Las Casas’s Brevísima relación de la destrucción de las Indias

Hearing Las Casas Write: Rhetoric and the Facade of Orality in the Brevísima relación (57)

Ruth Hill

Confronting Stereotypes: The Brevísima relación as Homily, Not History (65)

Cynthia L. Stone

Images and War: The Representation of Violence in Colonial Times and Today (73)

Gustavo Verdesio

The Textual Conversation of Las Casas’s Brevísima relación and Its 1656 British Translation (81)

Angelica Duran

On the Brevísima relación’s “Black Legends”: Eighteenth-Century Texts and Contexts (92)

David F. Slade and Karen Stolley

Learning by Doing: Applying Language Classroom Techniques to the Study of Las Casas’s Brevísima relación (99)

Sara L. Lehman

Teaching Other Lascasian Texts

Imperial Reason, War Theory, and Human Rights in Las Casas’s Apología and the Valladolid Debate (106)

Carlos A. Jáuregui and Luis Fernando Restrepo

The Noble Savage as Utopian Figure? Teaching the Apologética historia sumaria (117)

José Rabasa

Teaching De unico vocationis modo: The Maternal Discourse of Bartolomé de Las Casas (124)

Song No

Teaching Restitution: Las Casas, the Rules for Confessors, and the Politics of Repayment (132)

Regina Harrison

Teaching Las Casas in the Broader Ibero-American Context

Teaching Columbus from the Margins of Las Casas (141)

Margarita Zamora

Las Casas versus Oviedo: The Polemic between the “Defender of the Indians” and the “Enemy of the Indians” (147)

Kathleen Ann Myers

On Barbarism, Demons, and Natural Reason: Las Casas’s Rhetoric of Human Sacrifices in Pre-Hispanic Mexico (159)

Viviana Díaz Balsera

Las Casas as Genealogical Keystone for Discourses on Political Independence (167)

Santa Arias

Addressing the Atlantic Slave Trade: Las Casas and the Legend of the Blacks (177)

Eyda M. Merediz and Verónica Salles-Reese

Teaching Liberation Theology: The Legacy of Las Casas (187)

Erik Camayd-Freixas

Las Casas and the Testimonial Narrative (196)

Melvin S. Arrington, Jr.

All about Las Casas: The Productive Dialogue between Literature and Film (203)

Eyda M. Merediz

Teaching Las Casas from a Comparative Perspective

Las Casas and Early Modern Spanish and English Colonialist Discourses (210)

Elizabeth Sauer

Las Casas and the American Literature Survey (218)

Thomas Scanlan

Las Casas in French and Other Languages (224)

Jonathan Hart

Bartolomé de Las Casas and His Counterparts in the Luso-Brazilian World (235)

Lúcia Helena Costigan

Notes on Contributors (243)

Survey Participants (247)

Works Cited (249)

Index (279)