Spring 2019

The Inquisition in Iberia and Latin America

Listed in: History, as HIST-340


Russell Lohse (Section 01)


[LA] The Inquisition is one of the most notorious institutions in world history, but it remains little understood. As part of their drive to unite the Spanish kingdoms under their rule, Ferdinand and Isabella secured papal permission to launch a nationwide Inquisition in 1478. Although charged with safeguarding Catholic orthodoxy from heresy, the Inquisition was in fact a state-run institution that worked from political and economic motives as well as religious ones. The Inquisition targeted tens of thousands of converted Jews and Muslims, Protestants, and others suspected of such crimes as blasphemy, sorcery, or sexual improprieties during its 350-year history. Yet, far from an arbitrary "witch hunt," the Inquisition was a thoroughly bureaucratic institution that operated according to rigidly defined rules and procedures. In reading and discussing some of the most important classic and current works, students will learn about the major historiographical controversies and debates on the Inquisition in Iberia and Latin America. In a series of short papers, students will analyze secondary readings as well as primary sources drawn from Inquisition records. Two class meetings per week.

Limited to 25 students. Spring semester. Visiting Professor Lohse.

If Overenrolled: Priority to HIST majors, by seniority if necessary.


Attention to Issues of Class, Attention to Issues of Gender and Sexuality, Attention to Writing, Transnational or World Cultures Taught in English


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019