Department of History

Amanda Valdés Sánchez

Marie-Curie Postdoctoral Fellow
Research Interests colonisation, cultural encounters, cultural and religious transformation, politics of devotional culture


"As a researcher, I am particularly interested in studying colonisation, cultural encounters, collective processes of cultural and religious transformation and the politics of devotional culture. My research considers especially the development of forms of religious proselytism and accommodation as a tool of cultural, political and territorial domination and the agency of subaltern communities and elites in the configuration of multiple “native” identities and strategies to subvert hegemonic power. In the last years, my research has focused on the role of the Marian cult in the Castilian colonisation of Al-Andalus, the religious assimilation of the “native” Islamic communities of Mudejars and Moriscos and its integration into the Castilian colonial project. More particularly, my research has explored the role of the Virgin in the Castilian colonial dominion over the Andalusian territory during the reign of Alphonso the Wise (2019), the Hieronymite appropriation of Sufi devotional topoi in the miracle collection of the Virgin of Guadalupe (2019), and the importance of Marian devotional literature and images in the missional policy of Fray Hernando de Talavera among the Moriscos of Granada (2020). My most recent work analyses the impact of Marian devotion in the evolution of the social perception of Mudejar and Morisco women from their image as agents of the spiritual renovation of the Islamic population to their conception as "breeders" of crypto-Islamic "heresy" (2022). 

My current research project at Brown, seeks to expand my previous research, proposing a “political” reading of the development of Marian devotion in the Iberian Peninsula and its American colonies, which enquires how its particular characteristics and evolution reflected the progressive transformation of the Spanish imperial project and encoded diverse conceptions of the colonial regime and the role of “native” communities of “Moriscos” and “Indios” in the imperial fabric.

During my experience as a Postdoc between Brown and the CSIC, I hope not only to advance the comparative study of Moriscos and Indios and reveal new information about the similar use by “Indios” and “Moriscos” of Marian devotion as a “political” tool in their struggle for power and influence in the Spanish Empire but also to connect with a wide network of experts that will help me to deepen and expand my education as a researcher. "