Race and Class in Colonial Mexico: An Overview of the Literature
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My paper evaluates historiography in colonial Mexican history, focusing on the specific contributions scholars have made in the discussion of the role of race and class within colonial Mexican society. Looking at identity construction and social stratification, one group of scholars argue that race is more important in the operation of these two social processes; while other scholars argue that class is more important. However, there is a third group of scholars within the debate who have taken unique positions. These historians, all who are writing more recent scholarship, move the debate forward, offering alternative explanations for the processes of identity construction and social ranking beyond the traditional race or class explanation. The debate becomes much more complex with the introduction of patriarchialism, gender, different social spaces, or the idea of social race. My paper proposes that patriarchy and social race, defined by shared experiences, were the most important determinants of identity construction and social stratification.