García-Caro Contributes to Cambridge History of Latina/o American Literature
Pedro Garcia-Caro has recently published a book chapter entitled “Performing to a Captive Audience: Dramatic Encounters in the Borderlands of Empire.” The Cambridge History of Latina/o American Literature edited by John Morán González and Laura Lomas. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018. 51-73.
In his chapter García-Caro contours different practices of cultural performance by Spanish conquistadors and settlers in areas that would go on to become part of the US throughout the nineteenth century. From the early military campaigns and displays of religious and military power staging the colonial “claim” to the land through the “Requerimiento” in the sixteenth century, the staging of miracles and dance-dramas, through to satirical drama in the eighteenth century, public performance underlines the formation of cultural captivity of the colonized indigenous others, while increasingly revealing the divide and competition between religious and secular cultural agendas in the Spanish-speaking colonial space. García-Caro offers a comprehensive survey of the configuration of cultural hegemonies around public performance which relegated indigenous agency and cultural legitimacy to the role of spectator of incoming imperial narratives. Drawing from his recent research on the first Californio secular play Astucias por heredar, and contextualizing the long history of Hispanic colonial presence in the North American continent, García-Caro proposes an original framework to consider the relation of colonial cultural production as constantly tied to the objective of control, acculturation, and domination.