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Presented By: Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies

EIHS Lecture: Memories of Iconoclasm and Violence in Indigenous Accounts of the “Conquest” of Mexico

Lisa Sousa (Occidental College)

Lisa Sousa Lisa Sousa
Lisa Sousa
The history of the conquest of Mexico has often been told from the perspective of Spanish conquerors, but indigenous accounts reveal a contested history. This paper analyzes Nahuatl-language (Aztec) alphabetic writings and images produced by Nahua artists to shed light on indigenous memories of iconoclasm and violence in colonial Mexico. Special attention will be paid to understanding the significance of ritual objects, elite regalia, and sacred sites, and the impact that their destruction had on Nahua collective memory. This paper argues that Nahuas associated the destruction of their material culture with violence against native bodies and psychological trauma.

Lisa Sousa is a professor of history at Occidental College in Los Angeles who specializes in colonial Latin America, indigenous peoples of Mexico, and women, gender and sexuality. She is the author of The Woman Who Turned Into a Jaguar, and Other Narratives of Native Women from Archives of Colonial Mexico, and co-translator and co-editor of The Story of Guadalupe: Luis Laso de la Vega’s Huei Tlamahuiçoltica of 1649 and Mesoamerican Voices: Native-Language Writings from Colonial Mexico, Oaxaca, Yucatan, and Guatemala. Her current project examines iconoclasm and violence in sixteenth-century Mexico.

This event presented by the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies. It is made possible in part by a generous contribution from Kenneth and Frances Aftel Eisenberg.

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