1st Edition

Racial Apocalypse The Cultivation of Supremacy in the Early Modern World

By José Juan Villagrana Copyright 2022
    188 Pages
    by Routledge

    188 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book reveals the relationship between apocalyptic thought, political supremacy, and racialization in the early modern world. The chapters in this book analyze apocalypse and racialization from several discursive and geopolitical spaces to shed light on the ubiquity and diversity of apocalyptic racial thought and its centrality to advancing political power objectives across linguistic and national borders in the early modern period.

    By approaching race through apocalyptic discourse, this volume not only exposes connections between the pursuit of political power and apocalyptic thought, but also contributes to defining race across multiple areas of research in the early modern period, including colonialism, English and Hispanist studies, and religious studies.

    Introduction: "All nations and kindreds"

    1 Apocalypse and Racial Assimilation in Spanish Colonial Texts: Motolinía, Mendieta, and Acosta

    2 Goths and Magog: Asserting and Disputing Spanish Global Supremacy in Spanish Ethnic Origin Myths and English Black Legend Polemic

    3 Making a Prophet: Greville, Sidney, Drake, and the Cultivation of English Colonial Supremacy

    Coda: The Legacy of Apocalyptic Racism


    José Juan Villagrana is Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at San José State University.

    "Racial Apocalypse is an original exploration of how concepts of race emerged in early modern Spain and England through the belief that Christ would establish an eternal kingdom. Villagrana illustrates how a form of white supremacy emerges as Spanish and English Christians struggled to understand how indigenous peoples and Black Africans might be incorporated into the kingdom of God. This book will importantly add to our understanding of how religious doctrine informs racial formation and racism."

    Dennis Austin Britton, University of New Hampshire


    "Villagrana brings English and Spanish colonial and apocalyptic narratives—rationalizing rhetoric about providential preference and racial hierarchy—into conversation, revising in the process our view of race in the premodern era and advancing premodern critical race studies in crucial ways."

    Patricia Akhimie, Rutgers University, Newark


    "This book is an important addition to critical conversations about race in the early modern era. Not only does it provide a compelling comparative reading of processes of racialization involving Spanish, British, American Indigenous and Black African cultures, the book debunks popular notions that racialized thinking of the era primarily came out of fears and anxieties about European encounters with foreign cultures. Villagrana makes a strong case that race also was predicated on a sense of hope, of optimism as England, in particular, understood racialization as the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. The book provides wonderfully nuanced readings of the ways in which religion, appearing most often in terms of apocalyptic discourse, was bound up with racial formations and vice versa."

    Cassander L. Smith, University of Alabama