Colonial Latin America Summary

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Colonial Latin America presented a land of many conqueror nations brewing a diverse environment into mirroring the societies of their respected home countries. In The Faces of Honor: Sex, Shame and Violence in Colonial Latin America by Lyman L. Johnston and Sonya Lipsett-Rivera, the authors present the history of Colonial Latin America and the copious faces of its honor system that set a firm standard of societal boundaries. Within the historically accurate portrayals of colonial lifestyles, the authors include examples of individuals exercising strain against the barriers set up by the normative dimensions of society. Although historical patterns show that defying the societal structure was facilitated by being in a higher social class,…show more content…
An optimal example of such case is the life of Dr. Gaspar Gonzalez, a man who had been a priest and rose in power to become the dean of the cathedral in Plata (Spurling, 48). The social expectations of an idiosyncratic theologian preacher of the colonial elite was to be loyal to the church, modest and leading an exemplary life. Although Dr. Gonzalez’ sexual actions, also known as el pecado nefando (Spurling, 47) were what made his case out of the ordinary. Dr. Gonzales partook extensively in homosexual relationships with 2 different men, yet his position of power allowed him to conceal his actions for an extended period of time. After multiple accusations and testimony against Dr. Gonzalez, he was still able to protect his reputation while the men with whom he slept with suffered severe consequences. Juan Gonzalez, one of the men who had a homosexual relationship with Dr. Gonzalez, confessed to his sins and was then garroted and burned at the stake (Spurling, 48). Dr. Gonzalez exercised aggressive agency by having these homosexual relationships and using his power to dodge legal punishment by the ecclesiastical court. Gonzalez was part of a close knit circle that benefited off his well-maintained reputation and socioeconomic status, accordingly giving him a defense system to protect himself (Spurling, 55). The normative dimensions of a man with Dr. Gonzalez’ responsibilities were challenged almost entirely when el pecado nefando was committed multiple times. In conclusion, justice was reached in the case of Dr. Gonzalez, although it serves almost as an archetype of defiant actions being taken against the social structure, all due to a sexually intimate
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