rule latin america without relying W r i t i n g

rule latin america without relying W r i t i n g


The second reading quiz will be based on the book by R. Douglas Cope, The Limits of Racial Domination: Plebeian Society in Colonial Mexico City, 1660-1720 (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1994).

As you read this book, think about the ways in which race and racial identities affected people’s daily lives in colonial Mexico. In this book Cope is putting forward a new argument to explain how a few Spaniards were able to rule Latin America without relying on the force of a standing army. His argument challenges an older one—about “divide and conquer” tactics—which he summarizes in the introduction. Against this old argument Cope offers his own explanation. His argument can also be found in the introduction and, more explicitly, in the conclusion.

Please consider how you might respond to the following questions. Versions of these questions may appear on the reading quiz as multiple choice or short answer questions. Each multiple choice answer is worth one point. For each of the short answers, you will receive a point for every factually accurate, relevant, and meaningful piece of information you provide. Each of your responses will be worth up to four points. It may help you to think of writing at least one sentence for each piece of information you provide, i.e. at least four sentences in total per short answer question.

Please note that you will have two attempts to take the quiz and that you will have no more than 30 minutes to complete each attempt. Your answers to the following questions must be based solely on information from the book; any answers you provide from other sources besides the book will not be counted.

Possible Questions

  • What, according to Cope, was the sistema de castas?
    • What was it designed to do? Was it successful?
  • What does Cope mean by “plebeian”?
    • To what extent did class divisions overlap with racial identities?
  • How did Spanish elites view people identified as castas?
    • Who were castas? And who were mestizos and mulattoes?
  • How did plebeians view issues of racial identity?
  • How did a person’s racial identity or class status affect his or her experience of life?
  • How did patterns of residence, marriage, and patronage influence the sistema de castas?
  • How was labor “a system of social control”?
  • What happened in the riot of 1692?
    • Who were the rioters? Why did they riot? What was the alhóndiga?
    • What was the significance of the riot?
      • How does it fit into Cope’s analysis?
  • If the sistema de castas did not succeed as a system of social control, how was Spanish domination over plebian society achieved and maintained?