T C 357 • Rethinking the Conquest of Mexico
3:00 PM-6:00 PM
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 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 do 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 is 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 us that 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.
Class Reader with selections from primary texts, articles, and visual sources.
Hernan Cortes, Letters From Mexico
Bernal Díaz del Castillo, The Conquest of New Spain
James Lockhart, Nahuas and Spaniards
James Lockhart, We People Here
Inga Clendinnen, Ambivalent Conquests
Inga Clendinnen, The Aztecs
Stuart Schwartz, The Victors and the Vanquished
Susan Schroeder, Indian Women of Early Mexico
Susan Schroeder, Native Resistance and the Pax Colonial in New Spain