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Annals of Native America: How the Nahuas of Colonial Mexico Kept Their History Alive

Camilla Townsend



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Oxford University Press, USA
15 July 2019
History; History of the Americas
By:   Camilla Townsend
Imprint:   Oxford University Press, USA
Country of Publication:   United States
ISBN:   9780190055523
ISBN 10:   0190055529
Pages:   344
Publication Date:   15 July 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Camilla Townsend is Professor of History at Rutgers University. A Guggenheim Fellow, she is the author of Malintzin's Choices: An Indian Woman in the Conquest of Mexico and Here in This Year: Seventeenth-Century Nahuatl Annals of the Tlaxcala-Puebla Valley, among other books.

Reviews for Annals of Native America: How the Nahuas of Colonial Mexico Kept Their History Alive

Townsend is an elegant writer, her book a pleasure to read. It covers much ground geographically and chronologically. The analysis of authorship and patterns of expression within this genre alone makes the book worthwhile for Mesoamerican specialists. -- SUSAN KELLOGG, Journal of World History Townsend breaks new ground with her masterly anthology of accounts seen through the eyes of underdogs and written in the original Nahuatl....All of the annals show the contradictions of endurance and defeat--endurance in the face of disintegration. Highly recommended. --CHOICE This is a masterful study of Nahuatl-language annals that were authored by Native scholars. These indigenous intellectuals recorded the past for the posterity of their own communities while navigating an evolving Spanish-colonial context. They strove to preserve the legacies and heritage of the Nahua world in order to shore up their towns' autonomy and longevity. Townsend weaves together excerpts, summaries, and astute commentaries about these compelling texts dating from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, all the while infusing the authors' lives with a rich three-dimensional humanity. --Stephanie Wood, author of Transcending Conquest: Nahua Views of Spanish Colonial Mexico This is the first study to consider as a corpus the fascinating, complex, and rich histories written in Nahuatl by indigenous authors from central Mexico in the century after the Spanish-known by modern scholars as annals. It traces the production of these indigenous histories across time, exploring the authorship of texts long considered anonymous, the particular historical context in which the authors lived, and the historical consciousness and contemporary concerns of Nahua society from the early post-conquest period to the late seventeenth century. This path-breaking contribution lays the groundwork for the study of historical annals and history-making in Mesoamerica for years to come. --Rebecca Horn, University of Utah Annals of Native America brings alive, in ways both exacting and exhilarating, the social and linguistic worlds inhabited by the authors of Nahuatl-language yearly accounts in colonial Mexico. By following their trajectory from their inception as documents in Roman script to their manifold transformations in a 'golden age' of native historical writing, Townsend provides a fresh and compelling perspective on the most vibrant set of historical narratives by indigenous scholars in the colonial Americas. --David Tav rez, author of The Invisible War: Indigenous Devotions, Discipline, and Dissent in Colonial Mexico Townsend did it once again: masterful research, written in highly accessible and enjoyable language. The book is based on impressive detective work, great intuition and careful analysis to attribute annals to particular authors, as well as reconstructing their lives. We learn of these individuals, their motivations, and the Nahua way of conceiving history. In the process we confront essential questions about the meanings of history, its writing, and the voices that bring it to us. --Caterina Pizzigoni, author of The Life Within: Local Indigenous Society in Mexico's Toluca Valley Townsend shows that prehispanic history keeping always reflected the interests of ruling groups and altepetl, and scholars can interpret these examining how they reflect Nahua ideas about history, politics, religion, and kinship and also how they portray colonial events, people, and power relations. Townsend does a masterful job of both....Townsend is an elegant writer, her book a pleasure to read. It covers much ground geographically and chronologically. --Susan Kellogg, Journal of World History

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