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Charles R. Hale, Director SRH 1.310, 2300 Red River Street D0800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512.471.5551

Kelly McDonough

Assistant Professor Ph.D., University of Minnesota

Assistant Professor, Department of Spanish & Portuguese
Kelly McDonough



Critical Indigenous Studies; Nahuatl Language and Culture; Decolonizing Methodologies

LAS 370S • Cult Contact Colonial Spn Amer

40675 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm MEZ 1.202
(also listed as SPN 355 )
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Taught in Spanish. Latin American Studies 322 and 370S may not both be counted unless the topics vary.

LAS 392S • Indigenous Cult Colonial Mex

40805 • Fall 2014
Meets TH 930am-1230pm BEN 1.118
(also listed as ILA 387 )
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The study of Latin American literatures and cultures during the colonial period has traditionally been carried out through the analysis of texts produced by Europeans and their descendants. These perspectives are useful and valid; however without taking into account indigenous voices we are left with an incomplete understanding of the colonial experience. With this in mind, the aim of this interdisciplinary course is to investigate how Nahuas (native speakers of Nahuatl, one of the most widely spoken and best-documented indigenous languages in the Americas) shaped and responded to colonial rule in New Spain during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Through the analysis of visual and alphabetic texts we will attend to how Nahuas asserted and negotiated social, political, and territorial rights and authority within a context of domination. Specifically, we will focus on the paradoxical roles that alphabetic literacy, the Catholic Church, and the complex colonial legal system played in both the production and contestation of coloniality in the economic, political, civic, and epistemological domains of Nahua life. By emphasizing this lesser-known history of indigenous survival and creative adaptation, as well as cross-cultural communications between indigenous peoples and Europeans, this course allows students to acquire and develop a rigorous theoretical framework and historical background for research related to colonial cultures in contact and their legacies today. This course welcomes graduate students from the Humanities and Social Sciences. Advanced undergraduate students may enroll with special permission from the instructor.


Weekly 1-page Reaction Paper with discussion questions and General Participation 20%

Oral of Assigned Reading 15%

Oral Presentation of Final Research Paper (preview/summary) 15%

Final Research Paper (20-25 pages, including notes and bibliography) 50%

Primary Sources:

Carta de Huejotzingo

Chimalpahin, Las ocho relaciones y el memorial de Colhuacan (excerpts)

Codex Telleriano Remensis (folio 46r)

The Florentine Codex (prologues and excerpts)

Historia Tolteca Chichimeca (complete)

Lienzo de Tlaxcala (at LLILAS BENSON)

La nobleza indígena del centro de México después de la conquista. Ed. Emma Pérez Rocha and Rafael Tena. (assorted letters)

Proceso inquisitorial del cacique de Tetzcoco: Don Carlos Ometochtzin, Chichimecatecotl (1539).

Relaciones geográficas & Questionnaire (maps at LLILAS Benson)

Tezozomoc, Hernando de Alvarado, Cronica mexicana and Cronica mexicayotl (excerpts)

Titulos primordiales (various narratives of possession of land, acceptance of Christianity)

Zapata y Mendoza, Don Juan Buenaventura. Historia cronológica de la Noble Ciudad de Tlaxcala(excerpts, funeral processions for the King of Spain)


Christensen, Mark Z. Nahua and Maya Catholicisms: Texts and Religion in Colonial Central Mexico and Yucatan. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2013.

Connell, William. After Moctezuma: Indigenous Politics and Self-Government in Mexico City (1524-1730). Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2011.

Sigal, Peter H. The Flower and the Scorpion: Sexuality and Ritual in Early Nahua Culture. Durham: Duke University Press, 2011.

Tavárez, David. The Invisible War: Indigenous Devotions, Discipline, And Dissent in Colonial Mexico. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press, 2011. (also available in Spanish)

Theoretical and Secondary Sources

Boone, Elizabeth Hill. “Introduction: Writing and Recording Knowledge.” Writing without Words. Ed. Elizabeth Hill Boone and Walter D. Mignolo. Durham: Duke University Press, 1994. 3-26.

de Certeau, Michel. The Practice of Everyday Life. Trans. Steven F. Rendall. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984.

___. “Preface.” “Introduction: Writing and Histories” “Ethnography.” The Writing of History. Trans. Tom Conley. New York: Columbia University Press, 1988. xv-xviii, 1-16, 209-243.

Fabian, Johannes. “Time and the Emerging Other.” Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes its Objects. New York: Columbia University Press, 1983. 1-35.

Fitzpatrick, Peter, and Eve Darian-Smith. “Laws of the Postcolonial: An Insistent Introduction.” Laws of the Postcolonial. Ed. Eve Darian-Smith and Peter Fitzpatrick. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999. 1-17.

Green, L.C. “Claims to Territory in Colonial America.” The Laws of Nations and the New World. Ed. L.C. Green and Olive P. Dickason. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 1989. 1-39.

Gruzinski, Serge. La colonización de lo imaginario: Sociedades indígenas y occidentalización en el México español. Siglos XVI-XVIII. Mexico City: FCE, 1998. (Chapters 1 and 2).

Kellogg, Susan. “Introduction—Back to the Future: Law, Politics, and Culture in

Colonial Mexican Ethnohistorical Studies.” Negotiation within Domination: New Spain’s Indian Pueblos Confront the Spanish State. Ed. Ethelia Ruiz Medrano and Susan Kellogg. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2010.

Liebsohn, Dana. “Primers for Memory: Cartographic Histories and Nahua Identity.” Writing without Words. Ed. Elizabeth Hill Boone and Walter D. Mignolo. Durham: Duke University Press, 1994. 161-187.

Lockhart, James. The Nahuas after the Conquest. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992. (excerpts)

___.     Background and Course of the New Philology. 2007.

Lopes Don, Patricia. “The 1539 Inquisition and Trial of Don Carlos of Texcoco in Early Mexico.” Hispanic American Historical Review88.4 (2008): 573-606.

Mesoamerican Voices: Native Language Writings from Colonial Mexico, Oaxaca, Yucatan, and Guatemala. Ed. Restall, Matthew, Lisa Sousa, and Kevin Terraciano. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005. (chapter 1)

Mignolo, Walter. The Darker Side of the Renaissance: Literacy, Territoriality, and Colonization. 1995. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007. (excerpts)

Mundy, Barbara. The Mapping of New Spain: Indigenous Cartography and the Maps of the Relaciones geográficas. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.61-89.

Rabasa, José. Tell Me the Story of How I Conquered You: Elsewheres and Ethnosuicide in the Colonial Mesoamerican World. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2011. (chapters 1 and 2)

___. “Writing and Evangelization in Sixteenth Century Mexico.” Early Images of the Americas: Transfer and Invention. Ed. Jerry M. Williams and Robert E. Lewis. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1993. 65-92.

Rama, La ciudad letrada. Hanover: Ediciones del Norte, 1984. (chapters 1 and 2)

Roa de la Carrera, Cristián.Translating Nahua Rhetoric: Sahagun’s Nahua Subjects in Colonial Mexico.” Rhetorics of the Americas: 3114 BCE to 2012 CE. Ed. Damián Baca and Victor Villanueva. New York: Palgrave McMillan, 2010. 69-88.

Roseberry, William. “Hegemony and the Language of Contention.” Everyday Forms of State Formation: Revolution and the Negotiation of Rule in Modern Mexico. Ed. Gilbert M. Joseph and Daniel Nugent. Durham: Duke University Press, 1994. 355-366.

Taylor, Diana.“Performance and/as History.” The Drama Review(Spring 2006): 67-86.

Wood, Stephanie. “The Social vs. Legal Context of Nahuatl Títulos.” Native Traditions in the Postconquest World. Ed. Elizabeth Hill Boone and Tom Cummins. Washington D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, 1998. 201-231.


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