“This work provides new contributions and insights . . . the illustrative and comparative examination of documents from Mesoamerica and the Andes is refreshing and important. The analytical comparison between Central Mexico and the Andes is the work’s greatest and most novel contribution.”
—Mark Christensen, Assumption College
"A meaningful collection . . . very strong, well-reasoned and convincing."
—John Schwaller, University at Albany, State University of New York
Dialogue with Europe, Dialogue with the Past is a critical, annotated anthology of indigenous-authored texts, including the Nahua, Quechua, and Spanish originals, through which native peoples and Spaniards were able to convey their own perspectives on Spanish colonial order. It is the first volume to bring together native testimonies from two different areas of Spanish expansion in the Americas to examine comparatively these geographically and culturally distant realities of indigenous elites in the colonial period.
In each chapter a particular document is transcribed exactly as it appears in the original manuscript or colonial printed document, with the editor placing it in historical context and considering the degree of European influence. These texts show the nobility through documents they themselves produced or caused to be produced—such as wills, land deeds, and petitions—and prioritize indigenous ways of expression, perspectives, and concepts. Together, the chapters demonstrate that native elites were independent actors as well as agents of social change and indigenous sustainability in colonial society. Additionally, the volume diversifies the commonly homogenous term “cacique” and recognizes the differences in elites throughout Mesoamerica and the Andes.
Showcasing important and varied colonial genres of indigenous writing, Dialogue with Europe, Dialogue with the Past reveals some of the realities, needs, strategies, behaviors, and attitudes associated with the lives of the elites. Each document and its accompanying commentary provide additional insight into how the nobility negotiated everyday life. The book will be of great interest to students and researchers of Mesoamerican and Andean history, as well as those interested in indigenous colonial societies in the Spanish Empire.
Contributors: Agnieszka Brylak, Maria Castañeda de la Paz, Katarzyna Granicka, Gregory Haimovich, Anastasia Kalyuta, Julia Madajczak, Patrycja Prządka-Giersz