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Sins against nature : sex and archives in colonial New Spain

Tortorici, Zeb, 1978- author.
Sins against nature : sex and archives in colonial New Spain / Zeb Tortorici.
Durham : Duke University Press, 2018.
xv, 327 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Portion of title
Sex and archives in colonial New Spain
Includes bibliographical references (pages 297-307) and index.
  • Introduction: Archiving the Unnatural
  • Viscerality in the archives : consuming desires
  • Impulses of the archive : misinscription and voyeurism
  • Archiving the signs of sodomy : bodies and gestures
  • To deaden the memory : bestiality and animal erasure
  • Archives of negligence : solicitation in the confessional
  • Desiring the divine : pollution and pleasure
  • Conclusion: Accessing absence, surveying seduction.
"In Sins against Nature Zeb Tortorici explores the prosecution of sex acts in colonial New Spain (present-day Mexico, Guatemala, (the US Southwest, and the Philippines) to examine the multiple ways bodies and desires come to be textually recorded and archived. Drawing on the records from over three hundred criminal and Inquisition cases between 1530 and 1821, Tortorici shows how the secular and ecclesiastical courts deployed the term contra natura-against nature-to try those accused of sodomy, bestiality, masturbation, erotic religious visions, priestly solicitation of sex during confession, and other forms of 'unnatural' sex. Archival traces of the visceral reactions of witnesses, the accused, colonial authorities, notaries, translators, and others in these records demonstrate the primacy of affect and its importance to the Spanish documentation and regulation of these sins against nature. In foregrounding the logic that dictated which crimes were recorded and how they are mediated through the colonial archive, Tortorici recasts Iberian Atlantic history through the prism of the unnatural while showing how archives destabilize the bodies, desires, and social categories on which the history of sexuality is based"--Book jacket.
Subject headings
Sex crimes--Investigation--New Spain--Sources. Sex--Social aspects--New Spain. Sex customs--New Spain--Sources. Trials (Sex crimes)--New Spain--Sources. Criminal justice, Administration of--New Spain--Sources.
9780822371328 hardcover 0822371324 hardcover 9780822371540 paperback 0822371545 paperback 9780822371625 (ebook)
Standard Identifier


Blmgtn - Kinsey Institute Library (by appointment only)
Call Number
Auxiliary Library Facility - Kinsey Institute