The Origins of 'Raza:' Racializing Difference in Early Spanish
Cover Image of 'Interfaces,' Issue 7: Marianne Therese Grønnow, 'Light. Dusk. Darkness,' 2012, acrylic on canvas, 145 x 225 cm – By kind permission of the Artist –


blood purity

How to Cite

Gómez-Bravo, A. M. (2020). The Origins of ’Raza:’ Racializing Difference in Early Spanish. Interfaces: A Journal of Medieval European Literatures, (7), 64–114.


The concept and terminology associated with the Spanish raza developed as a culturally and linguistically situated metaphor during the medieval period and first decades of the early modern period. The early biologization of raza appears after a first conceptual transfer from the textile field reinforced through semantic overlapping transfers from gemology and metallurgy lexicons. A second push toward this biologization came from an administrative language that leveraged existing though unsystematized vocabulary of (marked) selective reproduction. These developments played a key role in the early racialization of difference.

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