Material Encounters and Indigenous Transformations in the Early Colonial Americas brings together 15 case studies focusing on the early colonial history and archaeology of indigenous cultural persistence and change in the Caribbean and its surrounding mainland(s) after AD 1492. With a special emphasis on material culture and by foregrounding indigenous agency in shaping the diverse outcomes of colonial encounters, this volume offers new perspectives on early modern cultural interactions in the first regions of the ‘New World’ that were impacted by European colonization. The volume contributors specifically investigate how foreign goods were differentially employed, adopted, and valued across time, space, and scale, and what implications such material encounters had for indigenous social, political, and economic structures.
Contributors are: Andrzej T. Antczak, Ma. M. Antczak, Oliver Antczak, Jaime J. Awe, Martijn van den Bel, Mary Jane Berman, Arie Boomert, Jeb J. Card, Charles R. Cobb, Gérard Collomb, Shannon Dugan Iverson, Marlieke Ernst, William R. Fowler, Perry L. Gnivecki, Christophe Helmke, Shea Henry, Gilda Hernández Sánchez, Corinne L. Hofman, Menno L.P. Hoogland, Rosemary A. Joyce, Floris W.M. Keehnen, J. Angus Martin, Clay Mathers, Maxine Oland, Alberto Sarcina, Russell N. Sheptak, Roberto Valcárcel Rojas, Robyn Woodward
In her groundbreaking investigation from the perspective of the aesthetics of religion, Isabel Laack explores the religion and art of writing of the pre-Hispanic Aztecs of Mexico. Inspired by postcolonial approaches, she reveals Eurocentric biases in academic representations of Aztec cosmovision, ontology, epistemology, ritual, aesthetics, and the writing system to provide a powerful interpretation of the Nahua sense of reality.
Laack transcends the concept of “sacred scripture” traditionally employed in religions studies in order to reconstruct the Indigenous semiotic theory and to reveal how Aztec pictography can express complex aspects of embodied meaning. Her study offers an innovative approach to nonphonographic semiotic systems, as created in many world cultures, and expands our understanding of human recorded visual communication.
This book will be essential reading for scholars and readers interested in the history of religions, Mesoamerican studies, and the ancient civilizations of the Americas.
'This excellent book, written with intellectual courage and critical self-awareness, is a brilliant, multilayered thought experiment into the images and stories that made up the Nahua sense of reality as woven into their sensational ritual performances and colorful symbolic writing system.'
- Davíd Carrasco, Harvard University
Mesoamerican Manuscripts: New Scientific Approaches and Interpretations brings together a wide range of modern approaches to the study of pre-colonial and early colonial Mesoamerican manuscripts. This includes innovative studies of materiality through the application of non-invasive spectroscopy and imaging techniques, as well as new insights into the meaning of these manuscripts and related visual art, stemming from a post-colonial indigenous perspective.
This cross- and interdisciplinary work shows on the one hand the value of collaboration of specialists in different field, but also the multiple viewpoints that are possible when these types of complex cultural expressions are approached from varied cultural and scientific backgrounds.
Contributors are: Omar Aguilar Sánchez, Paul van den Akker, Maria Isabel Álvarez Icaza Longoria, Frances F. Berdan, David Buti, Laura Cartechini, Davide Domenici, Laura Filloy Nadal, Alessia Frassani, Francesca Gabrieli, Maarten E.R.G.N. Jansen, Rosemary A. Joyce, Jorge Gómez Tejada, Chiara Grazia, David Howell, Virginia M. Lladó-Buisán, Leonardo López Luján, Raul Macuil Martínez, Manuel May Castillo, Costanza Miliani, María Olvido Moreno Guzmán, Gabina Aurora Pérez Jiménez, Araceli Rojas, Aldo Romani, Francesca Rosi, Antonio Sgamellotti, Ludo Snijders, and Tim Zaman.
Ornamental Nationalism: Archaeology and Antiquities in Mexico, 1876-1911, Seonaid Valiant examines the Porfirian government’s reworking of indigenous, particularly Aztec, images to create national symbols. She focuses in particular on the career of Mexico's first national archaeologist, Inspector General Leopoldo Batres. He was a controversial figure who was accused of selling artifacts and damaging sites through professional incompetence by his enemies, but who also played a crucial role in establishing Mexican control over the nation's archaeological heritage.
Exploring debates between Batres and his rivals such as the anthropologists Zelia Nuttall and Marshall Saville, Valiant reveals how Porfirian politicians reinscribed the political meaning of artifacts while social scientists, both domestic and international, struggled to establish standards for Mexican archaeology that would undermine such endeavors.
Empire of the Senses brings together pathbreaking scholarship on the role the five senses played in early America. With perspectives from across the hemisphere, exploring individual senses and multi-sensory frameworks, the volume explores how sensory perception helped frame cultural encounters, colonial knowledge, and political relationships. From early French interpretations of intercultural touch, to English plans to restructure the scent of Jamaica, these essays elucidate different ways the expansion of rival European empires across the Americas involved a vast interconnected range of sensory experiences and practices.
Empire of the Senses offers a new comparative perspective on the way European imperialism was constructed, operated, implemented and, sometimes, counteracted by rich and complex new sensory frameworks in the diverse contexts of early America.
This book has been listed on the Books of Note section on the website of Sensory Studies, which is dedicated to highlighting the top books in sensory studies:
Painted Pottery of Honduras Rosemary Joyce describes the development of the Ulua Polychrome tradition in Honduras from the fifth to sixteenth centuries AD, and critically examines archaeological research on these objects that began in the nineteenth century. Previously treated as a marginal product of Classic Maya society, this study shows that Ulua Polychromes are products of the ritual and social life of indigenous societies composed of wealthy farmers engaged in long-distance relationships extending from Costa Rica to Mexico.
Drawing on concepts of agency, practice, and intention, Rosemary Joyce takes a potter's perspective and develops a generational workshop model for innovation by communities of practice who made and used painted pottery in serving meals and locally meaningful ritual practices.