1st Edition

Kinship and Incestuous Crime in Colonial Guatemala

By Sarah N. Saffa Copyright 2021
    174 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    174 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Kinship and Incestuous Crime in Colonial Guatemala examines social relations in colonial Guatemala through the lens of incest. Using a combination of qualitative and quantitative analyses of incest trials from the Spanish secular courts, this study shows that incest codes were not homogenous nor were its various forms equally condemned. Further, incest codes and the criminal process impacted the articulation of kinship and contributed to the racialization of kin behavior. Colonial actors of all sorts were proficient at using these types of distinctions as they negotiated various crises in their lives. The models of relatedness created within incestuous crime ultimately foreshadowed changes in marriage proscriptions and continued racial polarization following independence from Spain. Overall, this study demonstrates how the lens of incest can add further nuance to our understanding of social relations in a given area. Incest codes force latent divisions between kin to the surface and can provide individuals with multiple avenues to creatively manage interpersonal relationships. They also afford a fruitful arena in which to explore social inequalities in society and mechanisms of culture change. This book will appeal to anyone interested in Latin America or engaged in the fields of kinship, gender, or sexuality studies.

    1. Introduction: "I Am Not Your Father"

    2. Social Relations in Colonial Spanish America

    3. Incest and the Law

    4. Blood Is Thicker Than Water

    5. Relative and Strategic Kinship

    6. Incest and Indianness

    7. Conclusion


    Sarah N. Saffa is currently a Visiting Scholar at Johns Hopkins University.