“This book represents a milestone in the study of the indigenous writing systems of the Americas. Including work by many of the most insightful scholars in this rapidly advancing field—many of them appearing here in English for the first time—Mikulska and Offner’s volume opens our understanding of indigenous graphic communication to a much wider world of possibility.”
—Benjamin D. Johnson, University of Massachusetts Boston
“Stimulating and insightful.”
—David Mora Marín, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Indigenous Graphic Communication Systems challenges the adequacy of Western academic views on what writing is and explores how they can be expanded by analyzing the sophisticated graphic communication systems found in Central Mesoamerica and Andean South America.
By examining case studies from across the Americas, the authors pursue an enhanced understanding of Native American graphic communication systems and how the study of graphic expression can provide insight into ancient cultures and societies, expressed in indigenous words. Focusing on examples from Central Mexico and the Andes, the authors explore the overlap among writing, graphic expression, and orality in indigenous societies, inviting reevaluation of the Western notion that writing exists only to record language (the spoken chain of speech) as well as accepted beliefs of Western alphabetized societies about the accuracy, durability, and unambiguous nature of their own alphabetized texts. The volume also addresses the rapidly growing field of semasiography and relocates it more productively as one of several underlying operating principles in graphic communication systems.
Indigenous Graphic Communication Systems reports new results and insights into the meaning of the rich and varied content of indigenous American graphic expression and culture as well as into the societies and cultures that produce them. It will be of great interest to Mesoamericanists, students, and scholars of anthropology, archaeology, art history, ancient writing systems, and comparative world history.
Contributors: Angélica Baena Ramírez, Juan José Batalla Rosado, Christiane Clados, Danièle Dehouve, Stanisław Iwaniszewski, Michel R. Oudijk, Miguel Ángel Ruz Barrio, Katarzyna Szoblik, Loïc Vauzelle, Gordon Whittaker, Janusz Z. Wołoszyn, David Charles Wright-Carr
The research for and publication of this book have been supported in part by the National Science Centre of Poland (decision no. NCN-KR-0011/122/13) and the Houston Museum of Natural Science.