The Body of the Conquistador
Food, Race and the Colonial Experience in Spanish America
Cambridge University Press 2012
Rebecca Earle‘s recent book The Body of the Conquistador: Food, Race and the Colonial Experience in Spanish America (Cambridge University Press, 2012) investigates the importance of food during the first two centuries of Spanish imperialism in the Americas. She explores how food took a central place in conceptions of bodily health and composition, both in the Old and New Worlds. Not only did the Spanish come to see themselves as different from Amerindians due to the different foods that they both ate, but missionaries worried about the potential to convert native peoples in the colonial absence of theologically-mandated wheat bread and grape wine. This work adds an important layer of analysis to studies of early Spanish imperialism, as well as to the historical debate on colonial ideas about race and perceptions of bodily difference.