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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel

There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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    Juliet's Nurse

    Lois Leveen 9781476757445

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Trading Roles (05 Edition)


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Synopses & Reviews

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Located in the heart of the Andes, Potosí was arguably the most important urban center in the Western Hemisphere during the colonial era. It was internationally famous for its abundant silver mines and regionally infamous for its labor draft. Set in this context of opulence and oppression associated with the silver trade, Trading Roles emphasizes daily life in the city’s streets, markets, and taverns. As Jane E. Mangan shows, food and drink transactions emerged as the most common site of interaction for Potosinos of different ethnic and class backgrounds. Within two decades of Potosí’s founding in the 1540s, the majority of the city’s inhabitants no longer produced food or alcohol for themselves; they purchased these items. Mangan presents a vibrant social history of colonial Potosí through an investigation of everyday commerce during the city’s economic heyday, between the discovery of silver in 1545 and the waning of production in the late seventeenth century.

Drawing on wills and dowries, judicial cases, town council records, and royal decrees, Mangan brings alive the bustle of trade in Potosí. She examines quotidian economic transactions in light of social custom, ethnicity, and gender, illuminating negotiations over vendor locations, kinship ties that sustained urban trade through the course of silver booms and busts, and credit practices that developed to mitigate the pressures of the market economy. Mangan argues that trade exchanges functioned as sites to negotiate identities within this colonial multiethnic society. Throughout the study, she demonstrates how women and indigenous peoples played essential roles in Potosí’s economy through the commercial transactions she describes so vividly.


A social history of trade in a colonial city in Peru, arguing that markets, stores, and taverns were important sites of cultural creation and showing how the gender and ethnic identities of participants affected how they adapted to the market economy.

About the Author

Trading Roles is a pioneering study. The mass of research Jane E. Mangan has put into the work is truly amazing. She makes the lives of the vast majority of the population of Potosí come alive.”—Erick D. Langer, author of Economic Change and Rural Resistance in Southern Bolivia, 1880-1930
Trading Roles is an unusually lively, detailed account of ‘the underdogs’ of a colonial Spanish American city. It draws attention not only to relatively invisible historical actors but to the rich texture of the deals and socially patterned expectations that brought them together.”—Kathryn Burns, author of Colonial Habits: Convents and the Spiritual Economy of Cuzco, Peru

Product Details

Mignolo, Walter D.
Silverblatt, Irene
Mignolo, Walter D.
Silverblatt, Irene
Mignolo, Walter D.
Silverblatt, Irene
Mangan, Jane E.
var-Hull, Sonia
Sonia Sald&iacute
Duke University Press
Economic Conditions
Economic History
Business-History and Biography
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Latin America Otherwise: Languages, Empires, Nations
Publication Date:
5 b&w photos, 5 tables, 3 maps
9.25 x 6.13 in

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Related Subjects

Business » General
Business » History and Biographies
Business » Management
Business » Writing
History and Social Science » Economics » General
History and Social Science » Latin America » Bolivia
History and Social Science » World History » General

Trading Roles (05 Edition) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 296 pages Duke University Press - English 9780822334705 Reviews:
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A social history of trade in a colonial city in Peru, arguing that markets, stores, and taverns were important sites of cultural creation and showing how the gender and ethnic identities of participants affected how they adapted to the market economy.
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