Skip Navigation
UT wordmark
College of Liberal Arts wordmark
plan2 masthead
Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Fall 2006

T C 357 • Rethinking the Conquest of Mexico-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
44530 W
3:00 PM-6:00 PM
CAL 323

Course Description

This course explores the "conquest" of Mexico and the social, cultural, political, and economic processes which were set in motion by the Spanish invasion of Mexico. We will examine primary accounts of conquest and the recent historical literature (visual and textual) that seeks to understand the complexities of conquest and conquest society. How do we account for the Spanish military victory and for the consolidation of Spanish power in Mexico? What roles did the Catholic Church, Spanish settlers, and indigenous elites play in the consolidation of conquest society? What kind of society did the Spanish intend to establish in Mexico in the sixteenth century? In what ways was indigenous society (political structures and power relationships, gender relations, economic organization, religious practices and beliefs, etc.) affected by conquest? How do we explain the absence of any major indigenous insurrection and challenge to Spanish presence in Mexico in the immediate aftermath of conquest? What primary sources are available to allow us to reconstruct the indigenous responses to the traumatic experience of invasion? The conquest of Mexico had global repercussions, not only in economic terms but also in cultural and intellectual terms. Thus, how did Spanish discovery of unknown peoples and places affect thinking about humanity and the world? We will examine these questions through selected readings of primary sources and assigned texts.

About the Professor Dr. Susan Deans-Smith is Associate Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin. She has a B.A. from Warwick University, and an M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Cambridge University. She is the author of Bureaucrats, Planters, and Workers--the Making of the Tobacco Monopoly in Bourbon Mexico, and numerous articles on colonial Mexico and Peru. Her current research interests focus on visual culture in colonial Mexico and Peru. She is a practicing ailurophile, and is passionate about Mexico and Mexican art and architecture, and the Texas Hill Country.

Grading Policy

This course contains a substantial writing component. Classes will be conducted as intensive discussions. Assignments are as follows: Weekly two-page critical reviews of assigned readings that provide the basis for seminar discussion: 40% Three-page research paper on visual sources: 20% Six-page analytical essay: 30% Participation in seminar discussion: 10%


Class reader with selections from primary texts, articles, and visual sources Inga Clendinnen, Ambivalent Conquests Francis Berdan, The Aztecs of Central Mexico Stuart Schwartz, The Victors and the Vanquished Ross Hassig, Mexico and the Spanish Conquest Matthew Restall, Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest Ida Altman, Sarah Cline, and Juan Javier Pescador, The Early History of Greater Mexico


bottom border