Toboggan Lodge, Cornell University
Gerard Aching (Professor, Romance Studies, Cornell University)
This project explores the relationship between Western European thinking on just war at the dawn of this region’s empires in the Americas and the juridical/theological creation of the indigenous American man. Drawing principally from St. Augustine, Vitoria, Sepúlveda, Las Casas, and Mair, this presentation describes and interrogates the rationalizations for and against declaring war against the Indians in order to examine the creation of the Indian as a specific and unprecedented category of the human and a fundamental paradigm for subsequent, imperial regimes in the extra-European world.
Gerard Aching specializes in 19th- and 20th-century Caribbean literatures and intellectual histories, theories of modernism and modernity in Latin America, and colonial literatures in the Caribbean, with a specific focus on the relations between slavery, sovereignty, sentiment, and philosophy. He is the author of The Politics of Spanish American Modernismo: By Exquisite Design(Cambridge, 1997) and a book manuscript titled, Freedom From Liberation: Slavery, Sentiment, and Literature in Cuba. In the contemporary period, he has worked on the play between recognition and misrecognition in Caribbean masking practices and popular cultures and published Masking and Power: Carnival and Popular Culture in the Caribbean (Minnesota, 2002). He has recently begun a book-length study on the relationship between just war theory and the sixteenth-century invention of the indigenous, American subject.