Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Professor Kelly McDonough Awarded Summer Research Assignment

Mon, December 9, 2013

In this project, presently entitled “Nahua Discourses and Performances of Social, Political, and Territorial Rights in Colonial Mexico,” I identify and analyze rhetorical devices and performative strategies related to the assertion of indigenous social, political, and territorial rights as recorded in a series of Nahua texts from the early colonial period in the Central Valley of Mexico. Whereas the recovery and analysis of the vast corpus of Nahua writing has steadily increased over the past several decades, a good deal is yet to be done. In broad terms, my contribution centers on understanding Nahua intellectual response to the colonial experience. How did Nahuas negotiate their place in colonial culture? In what ways did they articulate and frame their interactions with their own people, with other indigenous groups, and with Europeans and their descendants? What can Nahua texts tell us about indigenous strategies to acquire and/or maintain social, political, and territorial rights during the first two centuries of colonial rule? With a focus on three distinct written genres—títulos primordiales, annals, and mundane documents—my aim is to systematically trace the varied ways in which Nahuas utilized the written word and public performance to support their claims to rights and recognition at a time when both were being contested and modified.

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