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A Companion to Early Modern Lima introduces readers to the Spanish American city which became a vibrant urban center in the sixteenth-century world. As part of Brill's Companions to the Americas series, this volume presents current interdisciplinary research focused on the Peruvian viceregal capital. From ancient roots to its foundation by Pizarro, Lima was transformed into an imperial capital positioned between Atlantic and Pacific exchange networks. An international team of scholars examines issues ranging from literary history, politics, and religion to philosophy, historiography, and modes of intercontinental influence. The volume is divided into four sections: urban development, politics and government, society, and culture. The essays collectively represent the scope of contemporary approaches, methodologies, and source materials pertinent to the study of sixteenth-century Lima, a city at the center of global interchange in the early modern world.
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Aztec Religion and Art of Writing

Investigating Embodied Meaning, Indigenous Semiotics, and the Nahua Sense of Reality

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Isabel Laack

In her groundbreaking investigation from the perspective of the aesthetics of religion, 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
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Robert H. Jackson

In the 17th and 18th centuries Spain and Portugal contested control of the disputed Rio de la Plata borderlands. The Jesuit missions among the Guarani played an important role in regional conflict through the provision of manpower for campaigns and supplies. However, regional conflict and particularly the mobilization of the mission militia and the movement of soldiers on campaign had demographic consequences for the populations of the missions such as the spread of contagion. This study documents regional conflict in the Rio de la Plata, the militarization of the Jesuit missions, and the demographic consequences of conflict for the mission populations.
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Mesoamerican Manuscripts

New Scientific Approaches and Interpretations

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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.
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Laura Caso Barrera

In Chilam Balam of Ixil Laura Caso Barrera translates for the first time a Yucatec Maya document that resulted from the meticulous reading by the Colonial Maya of various European texts such as the Bible and the Poem of the Mío Cid, as well as various studies on astronomy, astrology, calendars, and medicine.

The Maya, showing considerable astuteness and insight, appropriated this knowledge. With this study and facsimile, experts can further their knowledge of Mayan calendars or traditional medicine; and Mayan enthusiasts can discover more about the culture’s world view and history.



En el Chilam Balam de Ixil Laura Caso Barrera traduce por primera vez un documento en maya yucateco, que resultó de la minuciosa lectura que realizaron los mayas coloniales de distintos textos europeos como la Biblia o el Cantar del Mío Cid, así como de diversos estudios de astronomía, astrología, calendarios y medicina.

Con astucia y perspicacia, los mayas hicieron propio ese saber. Con esta edición, los expertos podrán ahondar en las anotaciones calendáricas o la medicina tradicional maya; y los amantes de esta cultura conocerán otros aspectos de su pensamiento e historia.

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The Specter of Peace

Rethinking Violence and Power in the Colonial Atlantic

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Specter of Peace advances a novel historical conceptualization of peace as a process of “right ordering” that involved the careful regulation of violence, the legitimation of colonial authority, and the creation of racial and gendered hierarchies. The volume highlights the many paths of peacemaking that otherwise have hitherto gone unexplored in early American and Atlantic World scholarship and challenges historians to take peace as seriously as violence. Early American peacemaking was a productive discourse of moral ordering fundamentally concerned with regulating violence. The historicization of peace, the authors argue, can sharpen our understanding of violence, empire, and the early modern struggle for order and harmony in the colonial Americas and Atlantic World.

Contributors are: Micah Alpaugh, Brendan Gillis, Mark Meuwese, Margot Minardi, Geoffrey Plank, Dylan Ruediger, Cristina Soriano and Wayne E. Lee.

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Brendan Gillis

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British imperial magistrates applied distinct bodies of law in each colonial context. In contrast, a shared set of conventions for lawful government shaped administrative decision making throughout British world. This chapter highlights the importance of a broad and mutable mandate to keep peace for the exercise of power in Britain and its empire during the eighteenth century. It focuses primarily on two case studies. In December 1763, the so-called Paxton Boys massacred fourteen Conestoga Indians, whom the magistrates of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, protected in the town workhouse. Usually addressed as a violent turning point in colonial policy, this incident is indicative of a wider strategy of magisterial improvisation that shaped the development of imperial law. In South Asia, too, the writings of Magistrate Thomas Perry make clear, rhetoric and practices of peace allowed East India Company officials to impose British norms on Indian social and economic life. Perry and other British imperialists used what they saw as the failure of Mughal government to achieve peaceful society to argue for radical reforms to Indian courts, administrative structures, and patterns of landholding. A historiographical emphasis on legal pluralism has called attention to the varied and diverse bodies of law that divided European empires. This essay shifts focus to conventions and practices associated with legal peace. The project of maintaining order through law allowed local agents to improvise policies that constructed imperial sovereignty and jurisdiction through local practice.

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Geoffrey Plank

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Atlantic history in the second half of the eighteenth century has long been associated with war. The Seven Years’ War became a global struggle between 1754 and 1763. The settlement that ended that conflict proved unstable, and soon thereafter the Atlantic was plunged into an Age of Revolution, with violent upheavals in North America, France, and Haiti. These Revolutions in turn lay the groundwork for the Napoleonic Wars, which upset virtually all of Europe and Latin America. Historians have long sought to connect these conflicts using the tools of narrative history. Embedded within the conflicts of this era are stories of peace. In the Ohio River Valley, Enlightenment France, Ireland, Philadelphia, Senegal, Peru, and other places across the Atlantic World, writers, policy-makers, preachers and warriors responded to the bloody politics of the era by imagining peaceful futures. Indigenous Americans, Europeans, colonists, and slaves developed alternative programs to achieve peace. Though they were not always aware of each other, these dreamers and fighters were responding to common problems. This essay asks what we can learn by telling their stories together within a narrative encompassing the Atlantic World.

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Micah Alpaugh

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Whereas most histories of American pre-revolutionary protest have focused on incidents of violence and intimidation, colonial collective action between 1765–1775 may be more notable for developing new methods of positive peacebuilding. Overwhelmingly avoiding bloodshed, the Sons of Liberty and their successors built an unprecedentedly widespread social movement through developing new forms of associational life, trans-regional correspondence networks, public demonstrations, mutual defense pacts, boycotts and community solidarity. Whereas previously the thirteen colonies jealously guarded their autonomy, maintaining closer relations with Britain than each other, these campaigns brought the diverse regions together in a common cause, developing colonial consensus against British legislation. This chapter’s findings, based upon a broad reading of the era’s newspapers, correspondence and government records, suggest that far from seeking civil war, American protesters adopted contentious tactics with the goal of reestablishing a just peace across the British empire. Only after a decade of largely unsuccessful negotiations with imperial authorities did the Patriot cause turn intensively to militia building, but even then did not move onto war-footing until British provocations forced confrontation. American methods both deeply influenced the eighteenth century’s budding Age of Revolutions around the Atlantic basin, and globally continues to inspire core protest tactics in emerging democracies.