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Restricted Access Thesis

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Javier Cikota


“Prescriptions of Identity: Jewish identities defined, questioned, and remembered in Early Modern Spain and early colonial America” explores issues and conversations of Jewish identity throughout early modern Spain, Spanish conquest and the Inquisition, and early colonial America. This project relies on Inquisitional and legal sources, as well as familial anecdotes and Luis de Carvajal the Younger’s own letters and diary to compare and contrast how individuals experienced and projected both their own identities and those of people around them. In analyzing the rhetoric of these documents, this thesis grapples with the metaphors authorities wielded to describe the dangers that Jewish people were believed to impose on Christians and their communities at large. Tracing the use of the term “contagion,” this project seeks to explore and analyze how identities and religion were believed to spread and endanger those around them. While the Inquisition defined identity by blood and proximity, this thesis argues that Using Carvajal’s writing and the recipes we can see that practicing Jewish individuals and families often defined their own identities entirely differently, in deeply religious and spiritual terms. Throughout this project, I seek to examine existing historiography of Crypto-Judaic studies and answer questions surrounding why the history is seen as so contentious and how historians throughout time have sought to “prove” and “prescribe” identities.

Available for download on Wednesday, May 16, 2029


Available only to users on the Bowdoin campus.