I am a Phd candidate at the University of California at Irvine in the Dept. of Spanish and Portuguese. My research is focused primarily on colonial-era Latin American literature and culture. In particular, I am fascinated by the epistemological change that is a hallmark of the early modern period. To this end, my dissertation explores how individuals living and working in Latin America during the late sixteenth through the seventeenth centuries experienced and responded to this intellectual change. In the dissertation, I focus on a group of Jesuit missionaries that, despite working in vastly different geographic regions across the Americas and with varied Amerindian communities, faced a similar intellectual conundrum: What to make of the disparity between the scholastic information that they had learned in Europe about the geography of the Earth and its inhabitants and the evidence of their own personal experience in the Americas? I have decided to address this issue by dividing up my dissertation into three case studies that follow the writings of José de Acosta (1540-1600), Luis de Valdivia (1560-1642), and Eusebio Kino (1645-1711).