Max Deardorff, Ph.D.

Curator Bio

Welcome to my website! I am Assistant Professor at the University of Florida and former postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History in Germany. I created this web page to facilitate students' and fellow researchers' access to historical sources and to create a clearinghouse to link to the many new, exciting  works of public history focused on colonial Latin America, early modern Spain and Portugal, and the Iberian World more broadly. I hope you enjoy the site. (If you have suggestions about something that should be included, please drop me an email.)



  • Mestizos, Indios Ladinos, and 'Arabic Christians': Categories of Difference and Christian Citizenship in the Spanish Empire, 1563-1625  (manuscript)


   Articles and Book Chapters:

  • “Calumniadores” in Thomas Duve, Osvaldo Moutin, & Pilar Mejía (eds.) Diccionario Histórico de Derecho Canónico en Hispanoamérica y Filipinas. Siglos XVI – XVIII (2020)

  • “¿Quién es morisco? Desde cristiano nuevo a cristiano viejo de moros: Categorías de diferenciación en el Reino de Granada (siglo XVI),” in Forum Historiae Iuris (2019)

  • “Republics, their Customs, and the Law of the King: Convivencia and Self-Determination in the Crown of Castile and its American territories, 1400-1700,” Rechtsgeschichte—Legal History 26 (September 2018): 162-199. <download>

  • "The Politics of Devotion: Indigenous Spirituality and the Virgin of Chiquinquirá in the New Kingdom of Granada," Ethnohistory 65:3 (July 2018): 465-488.

  • “The Ties that Bind: Intermarriage between Moriscos and Old Christians in Early Modern Spain, 1526-1614” Journal of Family History 42:3 (July 2017): 250-270. <download>

  • “Policía Cristiana: Mestizos, identificaciones étnicas, y categorías legales en el Nuevo Reino de Granada,” Actas del XVII Congreso de AHILA 2014, “Entre Espacios: la historia latinoamericana en el contexto global” (9-13 de septiembre de 2014, Berlin, Alemania): 2094-2104.

  • “Imperial Justice, Colonial Powers: Pedro Vique y Manrique, the Galley Captain of Cartagena de Indias, 1578-1607,” Colonial Latin American Historical Review, vol. 17, no. 2 (Spring 2008 [2012]): 117-141. <download>



(Book manuscript) 
Mestizos, Indios Ladinos, and 'Arabic Christians': Categories of Difference and Christian Citizenship in the Spanish Empire, 1563-1625  

This book examines the obstacles faced by certain classes of neophytes and dual-heritage imperial subjects -- mestizos, indios ladinos, and moriscos -- as they confronted questions about their assimilability into the res publica Christiana of the sixteenth-century Spanish Empire. Developed out of years of archival work in Colombia and Spain, and drawing on a variety of legal sources often left untouched by historians of colonial Latin America and early modern Iberia, it is an attempt to connect the fields of social history and legal history. Balanced against the lively scholarship on the question of limpieza de sangre, the book makes the argument that Christian citizenship was the product of a trans-Atlantic synodal and conciliar revolution (1530-1630), which supplied the legal rhetoric that would later be employed by ecclesiastics and laypeople, new imperial subjects and Old Christians, alike. Nevertheless, I show how this global construction depended on local interpretations, in a legal system defined as much by local custom as by imperial law.

Recent Projects

Convivencia @ The Max Planck Society
Between 2015 and 2018, I contributed to the interdisciplinary Convivencia project, which examines cooperation, conflict, interaction, and exchange between different cultural and religious communities in Iberia, the Americas, and in the greater ambit of Iberian influence (Mediterranean, Atlantic) between 500 and 1750.  The project brings together the expertise of more than a dozen scholars from four different research institutes.
See public lectures from group members:
Max Deardorff: "The Tightening Vise of Christian Citizenship: Converts from Islam
and the Law in Sixteenth Century Granada"
Raja Sakrani: "The Three Cultures. Living together in Al-Andalus"
Alfons Aragoneses: "Sefarad within Spanish contemporary history. A legal perspective"
And news items...
My interests...
I focus on diasporas, inter-ethnic politics, and the role of law and religion in the mechanics of the Spanish Empire.  The inspiration for this website came from my deep interest in the Iberian Atlantic--a new shared cultural space that brought together natives of the Americas, Africa, and Europe.
​​​​Also see my blog page. Or, just send me an email >>

© 2018 by Max Deardorff.