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This dissertation argues that Guaraní socio-cultural practices determined what Spaniards could and could not do in colonial Paraguay. Beyond the Missions,' refers to colonial encounters outside the oft-romanticized Jesuit missions, especially within the provincial capital of Asunción. This research, therefore, complements the scholarship on the Jesuit missions by demonstrating that the Guaraní among the Spanish were just as influential as their counterparts in the missions in shaping the process by which they assumed new ethnic identities (or ethnogenesis) in Christian communities. Moreover, Guaraní social norms deeply influenced colonials and their institutions, including Blacks and the practice of African slavery. This argument challenges the dominant paradigm scholars have applied to the conquest of the Río de la Plata and builds on recent scholarship suggesting that ethnogenesis should be applied to the colonizers, not only the colonized. By examining ethnic relations in one of the most peripheral region of the Spanish Empire, this research provides new insights into cultural change and exchange in Spanish America.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Bieber, Judy

Second Committee Member

Hutchison, Elizabeth

Third Committee Member

Lane, Kris

Fourth Committee Member

Field, Les



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