I sat through a thousand classes on the requerimiento [the legal formula Spanish conquistadors recited at the first encounter with each new group of Indians in the New World].
I participated in a million grad school discussions of the requerimiento.
I mentioned the requerimiento un a tribizillion classes that I thought.
But you know what I just realized?
I never read the requerimiento. Like, the actual text. I never read the whole text. It’s so weird. I’m a literary critic who keeps discussing a text I never read. And ok, it’s exactly 500 years before my area of specialization and in a different hemisphere but still.
So I read it. And… that completely transformed my understanding of what it was and what it meant.
It’s an amazing text, but the way we are taught to think about it, and the way we then go on to teach it, is deeply stupid.