The History of Time in Colonial Latin America



Historians, like many academics, are increasingly specialized in their topics, research questions, and methods. While some defend this as a healthy development, the natural byproduct of a vigorous community of experts engaged in pure research, many both inside and outside the academy consider it more of a pathology, a symptom of a balkanized discipline whose practitioners find it difficult to exchange ideas across the boundaries of their various subfields. In this context, the history of time might seem like another tiny piece in the mosaic of historiographical hyper-specialization. I want to propose, however, that time history could in fact play a useful role as a bridge between communities of historians, since the history of time is found in various subfields, draws eclectically on different historical methods, and prompts interesting comparative questions. This article reviews works on colonial Latin America that include elements of time history, paying special attention to their methodology.