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Monday, April 19, 2021
12:30–1:40 pm CDT
This presentation proposes the idea of justice as key to the project of intercultural translation undertaken in the early seventeenth-century Nahuatl texts of Chimalpahin Quauhtlehuanitzin. Scholars have drawn on a variety of alphabetic and pictorial colonial texts to elucidate Indigenous legal systems in Mexico before the conquest and Indigenous adaptations to the colonial legal system after the conquest. Yet, in these studies there has been relatively little attention to how Chimalpahin, the most prolific colonial Nahua historian, treats the ideas of law and justice. Even with analogue words and phrases in Nahuatl at his disposal, Chimalpahin frequently uses justicia specifically as a loanword that he integrates into his Nahuatl grammar, indicating a complex effort to translate this concept into Nahuatl at a time in which the colonial courts and legal processes were shaping the discursive possibilities for native scribes like Chimalpahin. By attempting to translate key Spanish terms for prospective Nahua readers, Chimalpahin stands in contrast to earlier colonial historians who sought to translate Nahua concepts for primarily Spanish language readers.
Free and open to the public, but registration is required.
Sponsored by the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Chicago.
Natalie Arsenault, Associate Director, Center for Latin American Studies, University of Chicago