Genealogies of Modernity Episode 6: A Medieval Anti-Racist


What if racism shared an origin with opposition to racism? What if the condemnation of injustice gave rise both to an early form of anti-racism and to the racial hierarchies that haunt the modern era? Rolena Adornol, David Orique, María Cristina Ríos Espinosa tell the story of how Bartolomé de las Casas, a Dominican missionary to New Spain, came to racial consciousness in the presence of slavery. His intellectual rebellion spurred slavery’s apologists to more strident and sinister modes of defense – but also laid a lasting Christian groundwork for the fight against racial injustice.

Researcher, writer, and episode producer: Terence Sweeney, Assistant Teaching Professor, Honors College, Villanova University

Featured Scholars:

Rolena Adorno, Sterling Professor Emerita of Spanish, Yale University

María Cristina Ríos Espinosa, Professor of Arts, Humanities, and Culture, University of Sor Juana’s Cloister, Mexico City

David Orique, Professor of History, Providence College

Special thanks: Chiyuma Eliott, Michael Sawyer

For transcript, teaching aids, and other resources, click here.

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