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Accepted Paper:

No somos gitanos: the Calé blacksmiths of 17th century Seville  
Gretchen Williams (Texas Tech University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper focuses on the 1612 petition of Roma blacksmiths of Seville's Triana neighborhood. These families were active participants in Seville society yet faced the same discrimination as every Caló in Spain. Here, these families negotiate their identities in opposition to Spain's definition.

Paper long abstract:

This paper will focus on the 1612 petition of the Calé[1] blacksmiths of Castilla Street in Seville's Triana neighborhood. Documents like this one are rare, especially in the archives of Seville. However it is one of the earliest illustrations of Calé blacksmithing communities, prominent in the cultural record of Triana. These seven families petition the Spanish Crown for permission continue their tradition of blacksmithing which became illegal for Roma in 1611. Despite generations of service to king and community, these blacksmiths suddenly faced a very real threat to their very existence. Their response is to join together to contest the identity imposed upon them through Spanish legislation since 1499. "We are not gitanos," they argue, "because they are vagrants without community, homes, or trade." They and their grandfathers before them, in contrast, have owned homes and shops on Castilla street since 1502. The Calé are often assumed to have been on the margins of society yet these families show a different reality. This petition and the parish records which further document the community tells the story of church-going members of Santa Ana in Triana, who contributed to Seville's economy though a highly skilled trade. Furthermore they were aware of the legislation that targeted them specifically and savvy enough to use it to their advantage. This petition is a clear example of Calé families constructing and negotiating their own identities in opposition to Spain's definition. [1] Spanish Roma. Calé is plural, Caló singular

Panel Evid02b
Doing justice justice? Methodological and theoretical challenges in the anthropological study of legal historical archives II
  Session 1 Thursday 1 April, 2021, -