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Invented Indians: White Delusion, Make-Believe, and Native Mobilization of the Colonial Imaginary in Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century Mexico

Welch, Kayla Aletha (2024) Invented Indians: White Delusion, Make-Believe, and Native Mobilization of the Colonial Imaginary in Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century Mexico. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Studies of European colonialism and its legacies often center on power as the relentlessly pervasive, even inescapable, subordination of an Indigenous population through totalizing control of life. In Latin American critical thought, this tendency has led many academics to reduce colonial dynamics to a framework of an invincible Spanish colonizer working against an Indigenous population who either becomes assimilated into the colonizer’s ways of being or maintains a covert, and usually ineffective, adherence to the pre-Columbian past. My research seeks to complicate these binaries by examining chronicles, letters, and legal texts from sixteenth and seventeenth-century Mexico through a lens of critical race theory. I aim to understand how Natives mobilized what I call invented Indians, or cultural and political representations of Native peoples fabricated by colonizers as a base for the foundational, and often overlooked, logic of Spanish colonialism: White supremacy. Through microhistories, I explore how Nahua, Maya, and Zapotec individuals leveraged invented Indians to shore up the colonial imaginary and, in the very same act, disarticulate it.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Welch, Kayla AlethaKAW174@pitt.eduKAW1740000-0002-7912-8423
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairLamana, Gonzalolamana@pitt.edulamana
Committee MemberDuchesne-Winter, Juanduchesne@pitt.eduDuchesne
Committee MemberMonasterios, ElizabethELM15@pitt.eduELM15
Committee MemberRaibmon,
Date: 21 February 2024
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 10 December 2021
Approval Date: 21 February 2024
Submission Date: 9 December 2021
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 215
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Hispanic Languages and Literatures
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: coloniality, colonial, postcolonial, decolonial, critical race theory, colonial Mexico, sixteenth century, Indigenous studies, Native studies, Native, White supremacy, Nahua, Maya, Zapotec, hegemony of power, white fragility, invented Indians, postindian, representation, identity
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2024 20:39
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2024 20:39


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