Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


NEW VENUE! Republics of Difference: Racial and Religious Self-Governance in the Iberian Atlantic

20 March 2023, 5:15 pm–7:30 pm

Book cover, Republics of Difference

Please note that this event is now taking place at the University of Notre Dame London. Join us for a round-table discussion with the author, Karen B. Graubart, to celebrate the publication of 'Republics of Difference: Racial and Religious Self-Governance in the Iberian Atlantic, 1400–1650'

Event Information

Open to





Chloe Ireton and Zoltán Biedermann


Room G04
1-4 Suffolk Street
University of Notre Dame London
United Kingdom

Book launch: Karen B. Graubart, Republics of Difference: Racial and Religious Self-Governance in the Iberian Atlantic, 1400–1650. Oxford University Press, 2022.

Spanish monarchs recognized the jurisdictions of many self-governing corporate groups, including Jews and Muslims on the peninsula, indigenous peoples in their American colonies, and enslaved and free people of African descent across the empire. Republics of Difference examines fifteenth-century Seville and sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Lima to show how religiously- and racially-based self-governance functioned in a society with many kinds of law, what effects it had on communities, and why it mattered. By comparing these minoritized communities on both sides of the Spanish Atlantic world, this study offers a new understanding of the distinct standings of those communities in their urban settings. Drawing on legal and commercial records from late medieval Spain and colonial Latin America, Karen B. Graubart paints insightful portraits of residents' everyday lives to underscore the discriminatory barriers as well as the occupational structures, social hierarchies, and networks in which they flourished. In doing so, she demonstrates the limits, benefits, and dangers of living under one's own law in the Spanish empire, including the ways self-governance enabled some communities to protect their practices and cultures over time.

Co-hosted by the Institute of Historical Research (IHR), University of London and part of the seminar series IHR European History 1500-1800.

Please note that registration for this seminar will close 24 hours in advance. Due to ongoing industrial action planned for this date, the seminar will likely be held at another nearby location. Details about how to join the seminar (online and in-person) will be circulated via email to registered attendees on the Monday morning. 

About the Speaker

Karen B. Graubart

Associate Professor of History at The Kellogg Institute, University of Notre Dame

Karen B. Graubart is the author of With Our Labor and Sweat: Indigenous Women and the Formation of Colonial Society in Peru, 1550-1700 (Stanford University Press, 2007), which was awarded the Ligia Parra Jahn prize from the Rocky Mountain Council for Latin American Studies in 2008. She has published articles in Hispanic American Historical Review, Colonial Latin American Review, Slavery and Abolition, The William and Mary Quarterly, and other journals and books. 

More about Karen B. Graubart