This panel will discuss how efforts to prosecute and eliminate deviant religious praxis and belief in the Iberian Empires was a productive endeavor creating new networks of persecutors, as well as demanding the formulation of new identities for the persecuted.
This panel will illuminate two distinct ways that persecution, though generally conceived of as a destructive force, was also productive for those persecuting as well as those persecuted. In the increasingly globalized world of the Early Modern epoch the successful oppression of heresy required a network of functionaries that spanned empires and oceans. The Iberian Inquisitions proved themselves particularly adept at navigating the distances created by these expanding empires in their efforts to create and ensure a Catholic world. On the other hand, those considered likely suspects for heretical offenses, specifically various types of liminal figures, were forced to accommodate themselves to a society that was ready, at any moment, to denounce them before the Inquisition. To avoid such confrontations these figures found ways to construct their identities in dialogue with the expectations of orthodoxy while often refusing to completely forfeit their own heterodox beliefs and praxis. These novel networks and identities, borne of persecution, remind us of the generative capacity of even a force as infamous as oppression.