chapter  2
21 Pages

The Politics of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in the Making of the Spanish State

ByMary Elizabeth Perry

Religious Minorities played a major role in the making of the Spanish state, for around them developed a politics of race, ethnicity, and gender. Spanish Christians constructed an identity in the medieval and early modern periods as they responded to Jews and Muslims, two groups that differ very markedly and had different experiences in the Iberian Peninsula. In addition, Christians transformed Moriscos into a deviant group by inscribing the body through a process of sexualization which had already begun against the Jews. Morisco differences became perceived as increasingly dangerous deviance as the Morisco population grew. Racialized and sexuaiized, Jews and Conversos, Muslims and Moriscos became perceived as groups that threatened the very structure of society. In sixteenth-century Spain rituals of exclusion and abhorrence enabled Christians to define their society, express its inherent power, and create the reality of a Spanish identity.