Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Congratulations to Kelly McDonough!

Tue, September 10, 2019
Congratulations to Kelly McDonough!

In collaboration with Digital Initiatives at LLILAS Benson, Professor Kelly McDonough of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese was awarded an external grant of nearly $24,000 from the Center for Research Libraries (as part of the the Latin American Research Resources Project) for continued digitization and cataloging of the Fondo Real de Cholula archival materials. The first phase of the project was funded by an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant. The archive in question, which originates in the Mexican town of Cholula, Puebla State, consists of approximately 200 boxes and spans some four centuries, from the 1500s to the late nineteenth century. Once digitized, they will be made available to researchers on an open-access platform by the Benson Latin American Collection and the University of Texas Libraries. The materials document, among other things, how Indigenous residents of Cholula navigated colonial judicial structures unique to their special juridical status. The materials will provide a rich trove of information about the colonial period, referred to in Mexico as la época novohispana. Cholula was one of only nine locations to be designated a ciudad de indios (in contrast, there were 21 ciudades de españoles). Ciudades de indios had a different justice system than others. Indigenous people paid their tribute directly to the king instead of to a colonial intermediary; they enjoyed certain privileges, and they maintained a fully functioning Indigenous cabildo, or council, which ruled alongside the Spanish one. This in turn allowed for a degree of Indigenous autonomy and exercise of special privileges in the new colonial context.

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