Cosmogonic Ruler, Redemptive Priest, and Noble Savage
Center for American Indian Studies Programs
American Indian Studies Seminar Series
Thursday, April 21, 2011

5:30 - 6:30 pm


Kay Read, DePaul University, Chicago

The Mexican Highland god Quetzalcoatl (Feathered Serpent) has held the imagination of two radically different cultures and peoples living in three different historical contexts: the Late Postclassic, Early Colonial and presently.  My eventual goal is to begin interrogating primitivist categories governing selected contemporary images of Quetzalcoatl.  I will argue that these images are rooted in Spanish colonial pictures and have only a limited relationship to the pre-Conquest cosmogonic deity who actively participated in human governance.  To do this, I will employ a visually comparative analysis, raising methodological issues concerning the interpretation of resources rooted in a culture that used imagery as one of its primary communication tools.

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