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The Conquest All Over Again
Nahuas and Zapotecs Thinking, Writing, and Painting Spanish Colonialism
In the series
First Nations and the Colonial Encounter
Susan Schroeder is France Vinton Scholes Professor of Colonial Latin American History at Tulane University. She is the author of numerous books, book chapters, and articles about intellectualism, religion, resistance, society, politics, and women in colonial Nahua Mesoamerica. She is the co-editor and co-translator (with Arthur J.O. Anderson) of the Codex Chimalpahin and general editor of the Series Chimalpahin.
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The Spaniards typically portrayed the conquest and fall of Mexico Tenochtitlan as Armageddon, while native peoples in colonial Mesoamerica continued to write and paint their histories and lives often without any mention of the foreigners in their midst. Their accounts took the form of annals, chronicles, religious treatises, tribute accounts, theatre pieces, and wills. Thousands of documents were produced, almost all of which served to preserve indigenous ways of doing things. But what provoked record keeping on such a grand scale? At what point did precontact sacred writing become utilitarian and quotidian? Were their texts documentaries, a form of boosterism, even ingenious intellectualism, or were they ultimately a literature of ruin? This volume seeks to address key aspects of indigenous perspectives of the conquest and Spanish colonialism by examining what they themselves recorded and why they did so.
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|Page Extent / Format:||272 pp. / 229 x 152 mm|
1 Three Views of the Conquest of Mexico from the Other Mexica
2 Visual Persuasion: Sixteenth-Century Tlaxcalan Pictorials in Response to the Conquest of Mexico
Travis Barton Kranz
3 The Destruction of Jerusalem as Colonial Nahuatl Historical Drama
Louise M. Burkhart
4 Chimalpahin Rewrites the Conquest: Yet Another Epic History?
5 Don Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl’s Narratives of the Conquest of Mexico: Colonial Subjectivity and the Circulation of Native Knowledge
6 Don Juan Buenaventura Zapata y Mendoza and the Notion of a Nahua Identity
7 “Perhaps our Lord, God, has Forgotten Me”: Intruding into the Colonial Nahua (Aztec) Confessional
Barry D. Sell
8 Representations of Spanish Authority in Zapotec Calendrical and Historical Genres
9 Conquering the Spiritual Conquest in Cuernavaca
About the Contributors
Historical research and writing on the native peoples of Mesoamerica have been transformed over the past two decades by the increasing use – sometimes including discovery – of native language documents prepared by native communities and individuals. This has been an especially rich resource for writing the colonial history of Nahua, Maya, and Mixtec peoples, and thus for a rewriting of the history of the cultural encounter between American cultures and Spanish colonialism itself. In this pathbreaking volume, Susan Schroeder and her colleagues ‘unpick’ this native cultural treasury and historiography, and thereby reveal the indigenous perspective on the Spaniards’ invasion of America through their own testimonies, representations and perspectives.
From the Preface by First Nations Series Editor, David Cahill, University of New South Wales
Susan Schroeder’s edited work balances the history of the Spanish conquest of Mexico by presenting an indigenous voice from the past and, at the same time, reawakens a historiographical debate about the extremes of the Spanish Black Legend stereotypes that reached its high point in academia in the 1960s. In the Preface, David Cahill explains that “Historical research and writing on the native peoples of Mesoamerica have been transformed over the past two decades by the increasing use – sometimes including discovery – of native language documents, prepared by native communities and individuals. This has been an especially rich resource for writing the colonial history of Nahua, Maya, and Mixtec peoples. The Nahua peoples in colonial Mesoamerica continued to write and paint their histories and lives, often without any mention of the foreigners in their midst. Their accounts took the form of annals, chronicles, religious treatises, tribute accounts, theatre pieces, and wills. Thousands of documents were produced, almost all of which served to preserve Nahua ways of doing things. In this path-breaking volume, Susan Schroeder and her colleagues 'unpick' this native cultural treasury and historiography, and thereby reveal the indigenous perspective on the Spaniards' invasion of America through what they themselves recorded” (pp. xii–xiii). The authors of the essays in this volume have effectively used such sources in presenting the views of the conquered through the works of Nahua and Zapotec record keepers. This book is highly recommended to those who wish to gain a much needed perspective of the European conquest of the Americas.
Colonial Latin American Historical Review
The Nahua-speaking ethic communities of central Mexico left us the largest legacy of written documents of any New World indigenous people – literally thousands, the vast majority of which have never been studied. This splendid volume offers a rich array of the new research that reveals complex dimensions of the conquest of Mexico and refutes traditional versions of Spanish dominance and heroism. Their proud responses to the violence and negotiation of conquest were ‘recorded in alphabetic writing that was quickly adopted by the natives and came to be used by them to conserve their culture and their communities […] for both personal and political purposes’ (6–7). Susan Schroeder, distinguished scholar and editor of Nahua writings, deftly contextualizes the genre of conquest studies that has exploded the myth of ‘a literature of ruin’ and transformed our understanding of a ‘new, vital literature produced by and for the natives themselves’ (8). Nine essays examine views from their own altepetl (ethnic state) in annals, chronicles, tribute accounts, theatre pieces, confessionals and primordial titles in terms of what they recorded and why they did so.
... This volume sets a high benchmark for the depth and richness of its study of documents that recorded the Nahua ‘genre of conquest’, many analysed here for the first time. As Terracino points out, '[l]ike all Nahua writings about the Conquest of Mexico, these accounts tell particular stories from the point of view of a single altepetl. There is not a single, homogeneous indigenous, Nahua, Aztec, or even Mexican account of the conquest' (35). These results of brilliant archival research and Nahuatl discourse analysis are superbly written; their arguments finely nuanced and jargon free. The volume brims with new texts and ideas that inspire future work and debates.
Bulletin of Spanish Studies
Reviewed in the Bulletin of Latin American Research, Vol. 32, No. 2. © 2013 by Anastasis V. Kalyuta, The Russian Museum of Ethnography
The Violence on both sides in the Americas is more famously recorded in the history of the conquista in Mexico. In a new book this is seen from the point of view of the conquered Mixtecs, Nahuas, and Zapotecs. There are nine essays edited by Susan Schroeder (Tulane) collected in The Conquest All Over Again. The natives wrote and painted the history from their own perspectives. For specialists by specialists. More colonial history needs to be based on the writings of the colonized if and when available.
Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance
Indigenous record keeping in Mesoamerica underwent dramatic change after the Spanish conquest. Soon after the fall of Tenochtitlan, indigenous scribes began to adopt European forms of preserving memory. Educated in the humanities and theology at colonial schools such as the Colegio Santa Cruz de Tlatelolco, native elites began to produce new kinds of texts even as they sought to protect precontact forms of knowledge. As Susan Schroeder notes in the introduction to the volume, the Spaniards, by bringing the Roman alphabet to the recently conquered territories, "unwittingly contributed to a flourishing of Nahua language and culture" (p. 7). Despite an often hostile attitude on the part of Spanish authorities toward indigenous cultural traditions, native record keeping persisted through the chaos and destruction of war and thrived during the colonial period, as authors adapted European conventions to native techniques and to the needs of their communities.
... The essays in this volume showcase the extraordinary intellectual heritage of the indigenous peoples of Nahua Mesoamerica and their responses to European colonialism. The contributors include prominent scholars of colonial ethnohistory and culture, and their studies reveal the complexity and richness of native sources, most of which are not well known to scholars of Spanish colonialism or to the general public. Ethnic city-states (altepetl) and their communities continued to play a critical role in record keeping even after the upheaval of conquest. The essays highlight the great variety of Nahua and Zapotec perspectives on the experience of invasion and conversion, ranging from early accounts from the postconquest era to eighteenth-century works. The works under study address different audiences and reflect their authors’ differing motivations; they include pictorial writings painted on woven fabric, works in Nahuatl alphabetic script, religious theatre, and titulos primordiales, or records of precontact land titles.
... Taken together, the essays provide a glimpse into the range and depth of work currently underway in Mesoamerican ethnography and cultural history, a field that has in recent decades transformed the understanding of the process of conquest and colonization in New Spain. Newcomers to Nahuatl studies, as well as scholars familiar with the Spanish colonial field and undergraduate and graduate students, will find in this volume a welcome introduction to a fast-developing field, and specialists will no doubt find valuable contributions here as well.
The Americas, A Quarterly Review of Latin America's History
Reviewed in the “(Winter 2013)
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