Theorizing Indigenous Knowledge in Colonial Mexico: Pictorial Nahua Documents
Pictorial manuscripts occupied a central place in the intellectual traditions of the Aztecs of Mesoamerica and recorded great historical events; individual triumph, intrigue, and defeat; arcane religious practice; economic transactions; dreams and prognostications; astronomical events; and land ownership. This seminar will focus on the richness and vigor of indigenous creativity and intellectual production in the colonial period with a particular emphasis on pictorial documents. We will examine forms of continuity, adaptation, and transformation of indigenous Nahua culture (the Aztecs’ colonial descendants) through the continued use of Aztec symbolic forms and the introduction of the alphabetic writing of Nahuatl.
Through the use of primary sources drawn from the Newberry Library’s acclaimed collection of colonial Mexican materials and secondary readings, we will explore the persistence of indigenous culture and intellectual production in colonial Mexico from 1519 to the eighteenth century and will analyze the interaction between the Nahua and Europeans. We will examine original manuscripts, books, documents, and maps focusing on the pictorial representation and language through which the Nahua encoded knowledge and represented the past and the present. Team-taught by an art historian and a Spanish literature specialist, this interdisciplinary seminar will be of interest to students in the fields of art history, literature, history, anthropology, and sociology among others.
Participants: Catherine Burdick, University of Illinois at Chicago; Luis Delgado, University of Illinois at Chicago; Arturo Garcia, University of Illinois at Chicago; Yesenia Gonzalez, University of Illinois at Chicago; Dianne Lehmann, Northwestern University; Maria Reyes Moran, University of Illinois at Chicago; Ruth Nelson, University of Illinois at Chicago; Martin Ponti, University of Illinois at Chicago; Irene Ruiz, University of Illinois at Chciago; Thomas Vandervelde, University of Illinois at Chicago; Candice Weber, University of Illinos at Chicago; Lauren Whitney, Univeristy of Illinois at Chicago.
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