The Nahuas After the Conquest: A Social and Cultural History of the Indians of Central Mexico, Sixteenth Through Eighteenth Centuries 1st Edition
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"Lockhart has created an instant classic of the ethnohistorical and broader colonial literature. Its encyclopedic breadth . . . and its deep, reverential empiricism almost bludgeon the reader into an awesome respect for the author's masterful scholarship." -- American Historical Review
"A magnificent scholarly achievement. Incomparably the best study of post-conquest New World indigenous society, it is destined to become an indispensable cornerstone for students of the field." -- Journal of Latin American Studies
From the Back Cover
“Lockhart has created an instant classic of the ethnohistorical and broader colonial literature. Its encyclopedic breadth . . . and its deep, reverential empiricism almost bludgeon the reader into an awesome respect for the author’s masterful scholarship.”—American Historical Review
- Lexile measure : 1690L
- Item Weight : 2.27 pounds
- Paperback : 672 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-0804723176
- ISBN-10 : 0804723176
- Dimensions : 6.56 x 1.45 x 9.52 inches
- Publisher : Stanford University Press; 1st edition (September 1, 1994)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,470,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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1) Organization. This book is organized into 10 chapters, which can both stand alone (if for some reason you are interested in only one section) but which also flow in a logical progression. Chapter 1 is the introduction giving the scope and sequence - the author is focusing specifically on Nahuas (not other groups) in Central Mexico (not other regions, in which they were certainly abundant), and is primarily focusing on how they saw themselves and their own world, rather than their relationship to outsiders. Chapters 2 - 5 focus on social and material culture - Alteptl, Household, Social Differentiation, and Land, proceeding from the broad and foundational to the mundane. Chapters 6 - 9 focus above all on texts, - religion, language, writing, and genre. Finally, Chapter 10 organizes all of these categories and changes into 3 broad time periods and provides demographic and labor explanations for how these are all connected.
2) Indigenous Worldview. The author’s stated purpose is to examine the world of the Nahuas of Central Mexico through their eyes and how they saw it. A major theme of the book is called “Double Mistaken Identity”, which is when Nahuas and Spanish would interpret the same referent in different ways, while also imagining that the other party had the same interpretation. What this means is that the author does not identify the Nahua altepetl with the Spanish city, the Nahua tlatoani with the Spanish king, the Nahua calli with the Spanish house, but instead explores the explicit and implicit differences between them. One of the reasons why the Spanish colonists were drawn to Mexico specifically (and one of the reasons why Central Mexico was relatively peaceful during the whole colonial period) is that the Spanish and the Nahuas shared many approximately similar cultural features. The author is careful to highlight the often subtle real and ideological differences in the Nahua worldview, and how this affected their lives and cultures.
3) Texts. To my recollection, the author did not directly quote a single Spanish text in the entire book. They were one of the first scholars to seriously focus on indigenous-language texts of the colonial period, especially the mundane ones, in search of evidence, data, and trends for how their world was evolving. The author was apparently the PhD mentor for Matthew Restall; after reading this book on the Nahuas, I can see how Restall became developed his analytical skills with thousands of Yucatec Maya texts. Returning to this book, what I love is that the author draws on literally hundreds of separate Nahuatl texts to explore how the Nahuas viewed themselves, their place in the world, their past, and how all of these views developed, changed, or contradicted with each other. Not only does this highlight the often-ignored indigenous literature, but it fleshes it out as a REAL literary tradition, with set legal spiels and common tropes, with specific purposes and audiences, with diverse genres, with dialectical variants an accents, even with unique alphabetical features.
To conclude - this is the strongest book I ever read about the Nahuas, and was also one of the first in a new scholarly project to seriously explore the indigenous texts of Latin America. If any of that sounds cool to you, read it.