Northwestern Events Calendar


Guido Pezzarossi, Syracuse University - Labor, Climate and Public Health in Colonial Guatemala: Biopolitics in Archaeological Perspective

When: Monday, May 22, 2017
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM CT

Where: 1810 Hinman Avenue, 104, 1810 Hinman Avenue , Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Nancy Hickey   (847) 467-1507

Group: Anthropology Department

Co-Sponsor: Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Category: Lectures & Meetings


Anthropology Colloquium Series. Guido Pezzarossi, Syracuse University, presents Labor, Climate and Public Health in Colonial Guatemala: Biopolitics in Archaeological Perspective.

The health and vitality of native populations quickly emerged as a concern of Spanish colonial administration in Guatemala. Disease, movement, climates, food, alcohol and types of labor were all variously and inconsistently identified as factors impacting native health and contributing to the decline of vital laboring bodies. While such concern led to the development and implementation of public health policies intended to mitigate depopulation, these policies were less than altruistic. Colonial discourse repeatedly underscored the economic importance of native vitality and health for Spanish colonial subsistence and profitability, highlighting the links between native health, productivity and policy interventions. In this talk, I draw on archaeological and archival research to analyze the biopolitics of colonial health policies via the economic arguments that legitimized them and the racialized knowledge of native bodies that informed them. As part of this, I also explore how those same economic interests, as well as lax enforcement and empirical ambiguities of colonial health discourse provided colonists and native communities alike with opportunities to work within public health policies (and the anxieties undergirding them) and manipulate them to their social, political, economic and embodied benefit.

Co-sponsored by Latin American & Caribbean Studies and the Department of Spanish & Portuguese.

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