This social history turns inward and downward—away from an earlier macrohistorical genre of scholarship concerned with imperial horizons and structural problems (such as long-term boom/bust cycles in silver production; capital, technology, and labor-supply problems; coercive labor regimes; regional markets and outlying rural development; mining’s impact on New Spain’s long economic waves; silver currency and trans-Atlantic trade; the opening of the northern frontier, etc.). Instead, it takes a close, almost ethnographic, look at Zacatecas’ sprawling population of indigenous migrants, who, during the course of three centuries, transformed this frontier mining town into a vibrant multiracial city. Murillo is not much interested in engaging, much less fundamentally challenging, the contentious debates that once animated that older mining historiography of Mexico and Peru. Indeed, she shifts the analytical focus away from silver mining and Indian mine labor altogether. This approach is jarring at first, since, as she writes in her introduction, “studies of...

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