Fall 2008 History Forum
“The Unheard Voice of Law from an Often Heard Text: A New Rendition of Bartolomé de las Casas’ Brevísima Relación de la Destruición de las Indias”
Presented by David Orique, O.P., University of Oregon
September 19, 2008, at 3:30pm in the Albertson Room
Of the many important historical figures of the sixteenth century, few draw as much praise and, in some circles, scorn as Bartolomé de las Casas (1484-1566), who was a formidable advocate of human rights for the Indigenous of the New World. Over the course of his eighty-two years of life, he was a youthful encomendero, a conscientious secular cleric, a Crown-appointed “Protector of the Indigenous,” a diligent Dominican friar, the controversial Bishop of Chiapa, and a seasoned member of the Emperor’s Privy Council. Trained in canon law, philosophy, and theology, Las Casas consistently advocated for evangelization by peaceful methods, and questioned the legitimacy of Spain’s presence in the New World. Of his prolific writings, A Very Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies is by far the best known document. Although this text has been widely read and interpreted since 1552, either as an emblematic work of Golden Age literature or as the source of the Black Legend, another interpretation of this text using a juridical perspective is revealing. David Orique will offer a fresh interpretation of the Brevísima by articulating Las Casas’ previously unheard voice of law that permeates this famous work, and that passionately cried out against the injustices of his time and still echoes with contemporary significance.
Refreshments will be served. Parking fees suspended in lots B & C.
For more information, please contact Mark Baker (email: firstname.lastname@example.org; tel: 661-654-6833)