The "BIG PICTURE" is a collaborative project that employs photography as a conversational medium to explore the ways in which large issues, such as science and religion, are conceptualized and communicated. Partnering with a number of community organizations, the project has recruited numerous photographers, most of whom are experiencing homelessness, and invites them to consider these issues in part by photographing the every day subjects of their lives. The “BIG PICTURE” is invested in prioritizing perspectives that are so often marginalized in academic discourse.
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This paper critically engages two texts by the Spanish “New Christian” expatriate, Francisco Delicado: Portrait of Lozana, the Lusty Andalusian Woman (1514-1528) and The Method of Using the Wood from the Indies (1529). The former is a proto-picaresque novel and the latter is a medical treatise on the uses of Guaiacum, a Caribbean bark, believed during the first half of the sixteenth century to have miraculous healing powers. My paper puts these texts into dialogue with medical literature at the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University, in order to advance a more nuanced understanding of the language surrounding the French Death and the Holy Wood. In doing so, the paper aims to address the relationship between physical and moral health, blood purity and contamination in the Spanish Empire in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.
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