“[A]n important contribution to critical thinking about early-modern European colonialism in the Americas . . . . Rabasa is to be commended for having painstakingly and penetratingly analyzed actual articulations of legal norms in the configuration of a series of important historias and relaciones. At the same time, he has brought into focus the history of conflicts between Spanish colonialist expeditions and native peoples of North America during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries . . . . Writing Violence constitutes a significant intervention in current debates about the project of subaltern studies and its critical potential as a counterpoint to hegemonic liberal and conservative models of historiography.” — Antony Higgins , Nepantla
“[B]orderlands historians or Latin Americanists interested in the applications of postmodern literary theory to historical documents will find Rabasa’s work intriguing.” — Dedra S. McDonald , The Journal of American History
“[I]t is Rabasa’s willful engagement with postcolonial theory (as a perspective that neither privileges European culture as its referential framework nor accepts the idea that colonization carried civilization) that makes this text so useful to historians, especially U.S. historians who often avoid the postcolonial question. Furthermore, Rabasa’s critique of the various legalistic supports for conquest and the representation of conquest in what is now New Mexico and Florida are invaluable for historians of those regions. Instead of being at the far outer edges of the Spanish empire, both regions are at the center of, and critical in, the Spanish colonial project. It is on the violent edges of empire that the workings of colonialism and its various neocolonial forms of today, can best, if brutally, be seen.” — Lance R. Blyth , Florida Historical Quarterly
“[Rabasa's] book will inform and intrigue both historians of colonialism and scholars of colonial literature.” — Charlotte M. Gradie , H-Net Reviews
“Massively researched and richly learned, this memorable and highly provocative book from the distinguished author of Inventing America (1993) is a major contribution in showing how writing itself can be a form of violence. . . . Dense, nuanced, multilayered, this book, consistent with postmodernism, will mean whatever the reader brings to it. Recommended . . . as a work to be reckoned with.” — D. W. Steeples , Choice
“The theoretical breath and historiographical scope of Writing Violence reaches far beyond the Northern Frontier of Spanish colonial expansion in America. This book should thus have wide and important repercussions across the human sciences. But it will be of necessary importance to students of empire and coloniality as present and ongoing enterprises.” — Sara Castro-Klarén , Modern Language Notes
“This complex and passionate book does justice to the painful history it examines.” — Kathleen Ross , Hispanic American Historical Review
"Writing Violence on the Northern Frontier is an important work, and its significance for scholars researching the colonial era should not be underestimated." — Sonya Lipsett-Rivera , New Mexico Historical Review
"[A] much needed contribution to the neglected field of colonial Spanish chronicles of the present-day United States."
— Charles B. Moore , South Atlantic Review
"[F]ascinating. . . . [L]eaves readers hungry for more. . . ."
— Christopher Schmidt-Nowara , Sixteenth Century Journal
"[The book has] brilliant insight, a gorgeous lesson." — Dana D. Nelson , American Literary History
"Rabasa’s essays provide thoughtful interpretations."
— Cynthia Radding , American Historical Review
"Rabasa's dense argument but reasonably accessible writing style offers an interpretation and critique from which historians and anthropologists interested in the period of contact and conquest can learn." — Susan Kellogg , Latin American Research Review
"The essays are thought-provoking pieces. . . . Without a doubt, Rabasa's well-written book is engaging and challenges the reader to negotiate the fine line between interpretations expressed historiographically and history itself." — Colonial Latin American Historical Review
"While Rabasa weaves a complex array of discourses from many disciplines and critical approaches, he uses them to argue clearly that writing becomes an act of violence. . . . Assessments of Spain's evolving legal codes as subtext for historical writing, Inca Garcilaso's proposal of an alternate historiography, and showing how writing produces subalternity, are among the significant achievements of Writing Violence." — Gregory Shepherd , The Latin Americanist
“Rabasa covers a rich range of topics that offer stimulating new insights into violence as a cultural and ideological element in the formation of colonial American societies.” — Maureen Ahern, Ohio State University
“Rabasa provides a compelling understanding of the cultural worlds of the Spanish conquerors as they collided violently with Native Americans in the contact zones--in Florida, California, Texas, Chile, and Argentina. In so doing he devastates the rationales underlying violence in sixteenth century Spanish history and fiction, and thus challenges the readers to reconsider the rationales by which English and American settlers inhabited the West, and which they called ‘frontier violence.’ ” — Patricia Seed, Rice University
“Rabasa uses a comparative approach that leads him to incorporate a fascinating and very diverse body of materials.” — Beatriz Pastor, Dartmouth College