Institute of Latin American Studies
Inaugural LAGLOBAL/Leverhulme Trust Lecture
Crushing the Lettered City: Theological Worlds of the Illiterate
Professor Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra
(University of Texas at Austin and Leverhulme Visiting Professor, ILAS)
The "Lettered City" is a trope invented in the late twentieth century by literary critics who imagined that the intellectual history of colonial Latin America was dominated by a tiny learned elite enamored of the power that flowed from a monopoly over literacy. This lecture demonstrated that literacy often flowed in the opposite direction: from the illiterate to the theologian. Circles of theologians often took down in writing the visions of the allegedly ignorant, only to find them utterly versed in Old Testament prophecy. Many of these "illiterate" visions became sacred texts among the learned, in some cases gathering as much political and hermeneutical power as the Gospels themselves.
The Caribbean Regional Seminar @ The CICR