Drawing on literary texts, conversion manuals, and colonial correspondence from sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spain and Peru, Forms of Relation focuses on nonprocreative and nonbiological kinship ties, revealing the importance of these relationships to debates and struggles over colonial governance and identities.

Goldmark begins with one Dominican friar’s polemic against Spanish abuses of Indigenous women’s reproductive labor, which threatened to lead to maternal infanticide, the death of the Indies’ populations, and the failure of evangelization. He consults texts from sixteenth-century Peru describing how Inca authorities thwarted marriages between nonelite Inca women and Spanish men in an attempt to preserve Inca political power. He uncovers Spanish and Criollo teachers’ petitions, submitted in the early seventeenth century to the Archbishopric’s Archive of Lima, that hoped to convince authorities that by following these petition authors’ "good examples," an Indigenous person could claim Christian rights.

Forms of Relation illustrates why we must and how we can interrogate the dominant paradigms of mestizaje, heterosexuality, and biology that are too often left unchallenged in studies of Spanish colonialism, demonstrating how nonprocreative kinships proved critical to the creation of that regime.

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