Escritura, derecho y esclavitud: Francisco José de Jaca ante el nomos colonial

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This dissertation concentrates on the relationship between law, literature, and slavery in the Hispanic Caribbean of the Early Modern Period. My analysis is based on two letters and a treatise, Resolución sobre la libertad de los negros y sus originarios, en estado de paganos y después ya cristianos (1681), that were written by Capuchin friar Francisco José de Jaca, while he was serving as a missionary in the Caribbean region. His writings set the stage for a discussion of how Spanish hegemonic legal thinking is challenged and redefined from an alternative transatlantic narrative. The concept of nomos colonial that I introduce in this dissertation denotes the symbolic normative space originated by the legal justifications of the Spanish conquest and colonization. Through the exploration of the nomos colonial, my project focuses on how the rhetoric of law served simultaneously as a discursive practice of imperial domination and of cultural resistance. By reclaiming the aesthetic and conceptual originality of Francisco José de Jaca, a neglected author who demonstrated the illegality of Amerindian and African slavery, the dissertation reveals the epistemological shift produced to (re)accommodate the colonial subjects within the nomos colonial. By situating Jaca's contributions in a counter-hegemonic legal corpus that dates back to Antón de Montesinos and Bartolomé de Las Casas, the research re-envisions the ideological debates about slavery in the 16th and 17th centuries. Ultimately, my goal is to reconsider some foundational fictions of the Caribbean world--Amerindian legal status, slavery, and Black subjectivity--by underscoring the relevance of an intellectual whose discourse was constructed from the tension between the Spanish legal tradition and the colonial experience.