Professor of Spanish publishes new book

Julie Keith

John K. Moore, Jr., Ph.D., associate professor of Spanish in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, has published a new book.

john moore bookcoverJohn K. Moore, Jr., Ph.D., associate professor of Spanish in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, has published a new book. “Mulatto • Outlaw • Pilgrim • Priest: The Legal Case of José Soller, Accused of Impersonating a Pastor and Other Crimes in Seventeenth-century Spain” (Brill) is both a critical study and scholarly translation of a legal case from the late-17th-century in which the Hapsburg empire brought charges against a man on pilgrimage from Lisbon, Portugal to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

Moore has long been fascinated by the case, entitled, “His Majesty’s Representative v. José Soller, Mulatto Pilgrim, for Impersonating a Priest and Other Crimes.” In 2015, Moore received a Research Fellowship Award from the College of William & Mary’s Institute for Pilgrimage Studies to help tell the story of this fascinating “mulatto pilgrim.” In 2016, he was awarded a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies to continue work on the project; in 2017 he received a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) that helped him finish the work and land the Brill contract.

“Mulatto • Outlaw • Pilgrim • Priest” gives readers fascinating access to this centuries-old case and shows how Iberians of black-African ancestry faced discrimination and mistreatment. It also illuminates an era of faith and devotion in which religious pilgrims would frequently make long journeys to sacred sites, including Santiago de Compostela, which remains one of the most famous pilgrimages in the world. The book is also illustrated with artwork from the era.

“The project is highly interdisciplinary,” Moore says. “It involves not just art history but also history itself, race and ethnicity, pilgrimage and religion, literature and culture, Hispanic studies, and legal history. Soller’s story is a micro-history that encompasses myriad fields.”

Moore continues, “This book is an opportunity for readers to have an armchair travel experience in Portugal and Spain since so many of us are confined right now. There’s a lot of vicarious adventure (and misadventure) to be had in José Soller’s journey, trial, and probable jail break. We also can learn about a black life that matters still today.”

Dr. Moore's book is available online via UAB Libraries.