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The Anxiety of Sameness In Early Modern Spain$
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Christina H. Lee

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781784991203

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781784991203.001.0001

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Imagining the Morisco problem

Imagining the Morisco problem

(p.153) 5 Imagining the Morisco problem
The Anxiety of Sameness In Early Modern Spain

Christina H. Lee

Manchester University Press

In “Chapter Five,” Lee concentrates primarily on texts in which Old Christians expressed tolerance of the cultural differences that set Moriscos apart from Old Christians. She introduces the propagandistic discourses that justified the expulsion of the Moriscos by figuring Moriscos as the last Moors of the Reconquest, potential enemies within. She evaluates Pedro de Valencia’s Tratado acerca de los moriscos de España, a text that historians and literary critics have deemed to be exceptionally progressive in the context of the time when it was produced. For Valencia, “true” conversion entailed the Moriscos’ abandonment of all Moorish rituals, dress, and food, and their willingness to intermarry Old Christians. Valencia believed that religio-cultural tensions could be eliminated if Moriscos achieved absolute cultural and social sameness with Old Christians. Lee argues, however, that Valencia’s premise that Old Christians could only tolerate Moriscos if they mirrored them in semblance and in behaviors runs counter to the sentiments expressed in some of the testimonies given by Old Christians in judicial cases. To demonstrate her point, she examines three legal cases that involve a number of Moriscos who were able to remain in Spain after the closure of the Morisco expulsion (in 1614). These cases reveal that Old Christians tolerated Moriscos as long as there were some undeniable, distinguishing traits, and as long as they did not threaten the established economic and social order.

Keywords:   Morisco, Expulsion of Moriscos, Pedro de Valencia, Mudéjares, Francisco Núñez Muley, Granadan Moriscos, War of the Alpurrajas, Villarrubia de los Ojos

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