News from Association of Nahuatl Scholars

John Schwaller's picture

Cambridge, MA


April 22-24, the Association of Nahuatl Scholars (ANS) hosted its fourteenth annual Nahuatl Conference at the Tozzer Building of Harvard University.  The conference was attended in person and online by over fifty scholars from around the world.  At the conference, the ANS Board elected Drs. R. Joe Campbell and Frances Karttunen as Honorary Directors of the Association in recognition of their lifelong service to the study of Nahuatl and of Nahua people.  Also elected to the board were Dr. Benjamin Leeming, of the Rivers School, Dr. Benjamin Johnson, U Mass-Boston, and Dr. Andrew Laird, Brown University.  The Board began planning the 2023 conference.  Brown University has made an offer to host the conferfence.


Scholars from Asia, Europe, Israel, the United States, and Mexico met to exchange the most recent research on Nahuatl and Nahuatl speaking peoples.  Special presentations included a glyph seminar led by Dr. Gordon Whittaker, and two sessions of difficult words from the Florentine Codex organized by Dr. R. Joe Campbell and led by Dr. John Sullivan.  Presentations included studies of pre-contact metaphors, different writing systems associated with different regions, investigations of deities, as well as a focus on the works of early pioneers such as Fr. Bernardino de Sahagún, and anonymous song collections from the sixteenth century.  More contemporary issues considered the creation of collections of Nahuatl materials in the nineteenth century, the role of Nahuatl in the late colonial period, the impact of its use on modern communities, as well as considerations of the evolution of the language itself from its Uto-Aztecan roots.


The meeting was sponsored by "Moses Mesoamerican Archive" at the Peabody Museum, thanks to David Carrasco, the Latin American and Iberian Studies Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston, Dr. Nayelli Castro-Ramirez, Chair, and the Institute for Mesoamerican Studies, University at Albany, Dr. Robert Rosenswig, Director.


Many scholars have used the conference as a springboard for more extensive studies. Barbara Mundy’s The Death of Aztec Tenochtitlan, the Life of Mexico City, John Schwaller’s The Fifteenth Month,  Camilla Townsend's The Fifth Sun, and Gordon Whittaker’s Deciphering Aztec Hieroglyphs are among the books which have emerged from recent meetings. 


Association of Nahuatl Scholars