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Lisa Moore Interim, Director 2505 University Avenue, A4900, Burdine Hall 536, Austin Texas 78712 • 512-471-5765

FDP Colloquium - Kelly McDonough

Mon, April 15, 2013 • 3:30 PM - 5:30 PM • GEB 4th Floor Conference Room

“Flower Vendor” Diego Rivera (1926)  Honolulu Museum of Art (Model: doña Luz Jiménez)

“Flower Vendor” Diego Rivera (1926) Honolulu Museum of Art (Model: doña Luz Jiménez)

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The Flower Vendor Was Also a Writer: Nahua Intellectualism and the Case of Doña Luz Jiménez

Kelly McDonough

It is often thought that indigenous intellectual activities in Latin America ceased or decreased dramatically with the advent of the European conquest and colonization. Challenging this assumption, Kelly McDonough’s current book project analyzes how Nahuas, heirs to one of the most widely spoken and best-documented indigenous languages in Mexico (Nahuatl), have worked as intellectuals and writers since the early colonial period through the present day. By casting a wide temporal, demographic, and geographical net, this broad perspective shows not only the heterogeneity of Nahua knowledge production and writing in terms of genre, discourse, forum, and language, but also that of indigenous experience in Mexico over the past five centuries. This talk will focus in on one of the protagonists treated in the book, doña Luz Jiménez. As one of Diego Rivera’s favorite models, Jiménez’s image has circulated worldwide. Yet her early twentieth-century writings on day-to-day life in a small village, first-hand perspective of the Mexican Revolution, and recollections of assimilative schooling for indigenous children have often been overlooked since some, but not all, of her texts were mediated oral testimonies. In framing Jiménez’s texts as intellectual work, McDonough argues for an expanded understanding of intellectualism that highlights and creates space for both oral and written transmision of indigenous knowledges.

 


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