Poverty, power, and knowledge: an early entangled history of Hispaniola
AbstractThis article explores the entanglement of knowledge, power, and poverty during the first years of European interaction with the Americas. Histories of the European “discovery” and colonization of the Americas have often been characterized by the importance of European power and the hunt for gold, but this history has also been entangled with an equally compelling, if deeply ambiguous, history of poverty. The article engages with this entanglement of poverty and power by viewing early Atlantic history through the prism of Franciscan sources. The Franciscans were a religious order that engineered a unique doctrine of poverty; from a Franciscan perspective poverty was a spiritual act, a philosophy, an identity, and a form of politics. Poverty contributed to the deterritorialization of the Franciscans; they developed a geographically extensive network in the late Middle Ages and were the first Christian missionaries to travel to the Americas and establish an institutional presence. They played an important role in the early years of European–American interaction, and their history contributes to a re-framing of Atlantic history, indicating the importance of medieval ideas and the complexity of identity politics. This paper focuses in particular on Hispaniola, a site of geo-historical significance, where it becomes possible to visualize this entanglement of knowledge, poverty, and power.
McClure, J. <http://eprints.gla.ac.uk/view/author/39624.html> (2013) Poverty, power, and knowledge: an early entangled history of Hispaniola. Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies <http://eprints.gla.ac.uk/view/journal_volume/Canadian_Journal_of_Latin_American_and_Caribbean_Studies.html>, 38(2), pp. 197-219.