Words and Worlds Turned Around

Indigenous Christianities in Colonial Latin America

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Editor(s): 
David Tavárez
  • Boulder, CO: 
    University of Colorado Press
    , December
     2017.
     344 pages.
     $38.95.
     Paperback.
    ISBN
    9781607326830.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Josefrayn Sánchez-Perry forthcoming.

Description

A sophisticated, state-of-the-art study of the remaking of Christianity by indigenous societies, Words and Worlds Turned Around reveals the manifold transformations of Christian discourses in the colonial Americas. The book surveys how Christian messages were rendered in indigenous languages; explores what was added, transformed, or glossed over; and ends with an epilogue about contemporary Nahuatl Christianities.

In eleven case studies drawn from eight Amerindian languages—Nahuatl, Northern and Valley Zapotec, Quechua, Yucatec Maya, K'iche' Maya, Q'eqchi' Maya, and Tupi—the authors address Christian texts and traditions that were repeatedly changed through translation—a process of “turning around” as conveyed in Classical Nahuatl. Through an examination of how Christian terms and practices were made, remade, and negotiated by both missionaries and native authors and audiences, the volume shows the conversion of indigenous peoples as an ongoing process influenced by what native societies sought, understood, or accepted.

The volume features a rapprochement of methodologies and assumptions employed in history, anthropology, and religion and combines the acuity of of methodologies drawn from philology and historical linguistics with the contextualizing force of the ethnohistory and social history of Spanish and Portuguese America.

Contributors: Claudia Brosseder, Louise M. Burkhart, Mark Christensen, John F. Chuchiak IV, Abelardo de la Cruz, Gregory Haimovich, Kittiya Lee, Ben Leeming, Julia Madajczak, Justyna Olko, Frauke Sachse, Garry Sparks.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

David Tavárez is professor of anthropology at Vassar College, and a doctoral advisor at the PhD Program in Mesoamerican Studies at UNAM (Mexico). He is the author of The Invisible War: Indigenous Devotions, Discipline, and Dissent in Colonial Mexico, and a coauthor of Painted Words: Nahua Catholicism, Politics, and Memory in the Atzaqualco Pictorial Catechism (with Elizabeth Boone and Louise Burkhart), and of Chimalpahin’s Conquest: A Nahua Historian’s Rewriting of Francisco López de Gómara’s La conquista de México (with Susan Schroeder, Anne Cruz, and Cristián Roa). He has also published more than forty peer-reviewed articles and chapters on Mesoamerican religion and colonial Latin American history. A recent recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, his research has also been supported by grants from the NEH, the NSF, the Mellon Foundation, and the John Carter Brown Library.

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