Week One

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I watched “Casta Paintings: An Introduction” (http://last100.arts.ubc.ca/casta-paintings-an-introduction/) and “The Colonial Experience” (http://last100.arts.ubc.ca/the-colonial-experience-2/). “Casta Paintings: An Introduction” and “The Colonial Experience” both discuss the Casta Paintings, although “The Colonial Experience” also deals with the life of Catalina de Erauso.

“The Colonial Experience” delved into the intriguing life of Catalina de Erauso. It felt like I was listening to a story rather than an actual historical occurrence, probably because of how exciting it was. It is hard to imagine a woman in the 1600’s pretending to be man and travel as much as Catalina de Erauso did because of women’s status in society at the time. The video about her amused me at many points such as when she worked with her brother for three years but he never recognized her, and when Catalina left the rancher and her daughter right after receiving the dowry but without going through with the marriage. I also found it astonishing how the first time she confessed, she faced no consequences for her actions (Pretending to be someone else). She was able to carry on as if nothing had happened, but you’d think there would be repercussions. When she revealed who she was the second time, she went to a convent, whereas¬†one might think that she would have to spend time in jail. What I found most remarkable was that after everyone had come to know her true identity (that she was a woman), she still chose to return to Latin America with a man’s identity instead of her original one. I think this raises a question, about how if someone takes on a different identity for so long, do they actually become that person and perhaps feel more comfortable being that person instead of who they were originally.

I found “Casta Paintings: An Introduction” interesting as it not only explained what they are and they showed the hierarchy¬†in society during the 16oos and 17oos, but also how racial hierarchy still exists in Latin America, perhaps not as explicitly as in the paintings, but in a subtle way. I also had never heard of the term “Scientific Racism” before watching this video. I also found the fact that where you are born has such a big impact on your place in society fascinating.