This essay approaches Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz's "Romance 37" from the perspective of indigenous studies, arguing that the nun portrays American birth as a discursive synecdoche to associate herself and, by extension, the New Spanish Creole class, with the riches mined in America. She equates mining, birth and material refinement with evangelization, implying that the Creoles are as fit to govern as the peninsulares because both groups are of quality stock and participate in evangelization processes. However, this rhetoric of materiality and refinement overlooks the bioethnic segregation of New Spain, meaning that the underlying argument for Creole administration may anachronistically read as a liberatory one inclusive of Amerindian peoples. By presenting successful evangelizers as the model for "indigenous" Catholic conduct, Sor Juana limits the semiotic scope of her synecdochical "América abundante" to tenants of Christian morality, explicitly excluding from this metaphysical territory those Spaniards who do not spread the word of God and implicitly excluding those who have yet to be evangelized, i.e., bio-ethnically indigenous peoples.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 435-457
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.