Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies
Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

Lecture: "From Defiance to Dissent: The Rise and Fall of Indigenous Publics in Colonial Mexico"

Thu, November 14, 2013 | BEN 2.104

4:00 PM

Between 1536 and the late sixteenth century, the Franciscan Colegio de Santa Cruz at Tlatelolco was a hub for intellectual enterprises featuring a close collaboration between Nahua scholars and their teachers. Dr. David Tavárez surveys two virtually unknown Santa Cruz projects: the superb Nahuatl rendering of Thomas à Kempis’s Imitation of Christ before 1570 and a masterful Nahuatl translation of the Proverbs of Solomon, banned by the Mexican Inquisition in 1577 as it confronted the interdiction of the vernacular Scripture. These works were part of an attempt to bring the devotio moderna—works associated with individual piety—to an urban Nahuatl audience, and illustrate an early moment in the defiance of Counter-Reformation policies in Spanish America. Dr. Tavárez then turns briefly to the use of alphabetic literacy for indigenous dissent in colonial Oaxaca through the clandestine circulation of Zapotec ritual texts. In both instances, we find distinct configurations of indigenous publics that confront received notions of indigenous agency in colonial societies.

David Tavárez, an associate professor of anthropology at Vassar College, is a historian who specializes in cultural and intellectual history in colonial Spanish America. He is the author of The Invisible War: Indigenous Devotions, Discipline, and Dissent in Colonial Mexico (Stanford, 2011), a co-author of Chimalpahin's Conquest: A Nahua Historian's Rewriting of Francisco López de Gómara's La conquista de México (Stanford, 2010), and has published more than
40 articles and book chapters.

For more information, contact Kelly McDonough.

Sponsored by: LLILAS Benson; Departments of Spanish & Portuguese, Religious Studies, and History; Native American and Indigenous Studies; and Program in Comparative Literature

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