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Conference – Beyond Cortés and Moteuczoma (Yale)

March 26, 2020 - March 28, 2020

Beyond Cortés and Moteuczoma:
The Fall of Mexico Tenochtitlan and its Aftermath

march 26-28 at yale university
Luce Hall, 34 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven, CT 06511

Organizers: Stuart Schwartz, George Burton Adams Professor of History, Yale University and Barbara E. Mundy, Professor of Art History, Fordham University.

In the period of 2019-2021 we will be remembering the Quincentenary of the Spanish invasion and military take-over of much of Mesoamerica. While these consequential years were once framed as the “Conquest of Mexico,” since the mid-1970s their understanding has undergone dramatic revisions. The Mexica, previously known as the Aztec, have been recognized according to the name they had for themselves. Their language, Nahuatl, has been a focus of scholarly attention for some fifty years, revealing the agency of indigenous actors. Recent works are marked by the paradigm shift, as are editions of primary sources on conquest. Several score of studies have explored the participation of hitherto ignored groups in the conflict, studying the role of native auxiliaries, women, persons of color, and even the “foot soldiers” of the expeditions. This new focus conforms to what is increasingly called the “New Conquest History”: oriented not towards the actions of a few Spanish leaders, nor celebratory of a European mission, but rather looking closely at all sides and aspects of the conflict. But now that an expansive cast of characters and archives has been identified and brought onto the stage of narrative history and art history, what’s the next act? What new historiographical models will allow scholars to move beyond recognition? And given that archives are partial, how can we address conquest-era events that exist at archival limits, like rape and enslavement? And how can this conquest illuminate other ones, including in the present moment?

This two-day conference brings together both established and emerging scholars from anthropology, literature, history and art history, to present papers that offer new approaches to the Invasion and suggest directions for future research.

Conference Schedule

thursday, march 26

5 pm – 6:30 pm | Opening Lecture | Luce Hall, Room 203 (34 Hillhouse Ave.)

Federico Navarrete

Who really conquered Mexico?

friday, march 27

9 am -10:30 am | Session 1: Sacred matters | Luce Hall Auditorium (34 Hillhouse Avenue)

Moderator: Ned Blackhawk, Yale University

Miruna Achim

“The breath of chalchihuitl”: the uses of jade in the Atlantic context

Molly Bassett

Encounters with bundles: Theory and method in the study of Aztec religion

Martin Nesvig

Teonanactl and the spiritual un-conquest of Michoacán

10:45 am – 12:30 pm | Session 2: Battles over Tenochtitlan | Luce Hall Auditorium (34 Hillhouse Avenue)

Moderator: Gil Joseph, Yale University

David Horacio Colmenares

Upon the asp and the basilisk: Infra-politics and Hernán Cortés’s map of Tenochtitlán

Luis Fernando Granados

Fighting (Over) Tenochtitlán: Fact, myth, and meaning of a primordial battle

Barbara Mundy

Images of Tenochtitlan, and the Aztec conquest of New Spain

Ryan Crewe

From Tenochtitlan to Nagasaki: Into the antipodes of a myth of Conquest

12:30pm – 2 pm | Lunch Break | Luce Hall Common Room

2:00 pm -3:45 pm | Session 3: The Meaning and Memory of Conquest | Luce Hall Auditorium (34 Hillhouse Avenue)

Moderator: Lucy Salazar, Yale University

Susan Schroeder

“Conquest” according to Chimalpahin and Alvarado Tezozomoc before and after 1521

Diana Magaloni Kerpel

The indigenous painted history of the Conquest in Book 12 of the Florentine Codex

Kevin Terraciano

Mexica heroes of the war in Tenochtitlan and Tlatelolco, 1520-21

Rodrigo Martínez Baracs

The Conquest through the lens of Braudel’s three temporalities

4:00 pm – 5:30 pm  | Session 4:  Iconoclasm | Luce Hall Auditorium (34 Hillhouse Avenue)

Moderator: Richard Burger, Yale University

Maria Castañeda de la Paz

The hidden face of Moctezuma Xocoyotzin

Sara Ryu

Ambiguous foundations: Material and textual discourses of iconoclasm in sixteenth-century Mexico City

Lisa Sousa

Memories of iconoclasm and violence in Indigenous accounts of the War of Mexico Tenochtitlan

Enrique R. Rodríguez-Alegría

The adoption of Indigenous engineering and architecture among Spanish colonizers

5 pm – 7 pm | Lecture | Luce Hall Auditorium (34 Hillhouse Avenue)

Matthew Restall

Seven reasons why the Spanish-Aztec quincentennial matters

saturday, march 28

9 am –  10:30 am | Session 5: Gendered Conquests | Luce Hall Auditorium (34 Hillhouse Avenue)

Moderator: Tatiana Sejias

Jeremy Mumford

Invasion by marriage: Race, sexuality, and colonialism

Camilla Townsend

Women in [the] Conquest: The evidence from the xiuhpohualli

Fritz Schwaller

“Unto the third and fourth generation”: The impact of the Spanish – Mexica War on mid-sixteenth-century New Spain

10:30 am -11 am | Coffee Break | Luce Hall Common Room

11 am – 12:45 pm | Session 6: The Conquest From Afar | Luce Hall Auditorium (34 Hillhouse Avenue)

Moderator: Stuart Schwartz, Yale University

Daviken Studnicki-Gizbert

Genealogies of the swidden kings: The Rey Montezumas of nineteenth and twentieth-century Panama

Raphael Folsom

Making the Chichimeca frontier: Nahuas, Otomis, and Tarascans in the borderlands of northern New Spain

Oswaldo Chinchilla

Pedro de Alvarado, Tonatiuh: Reconsidering apotheosis in Nahua and highland Maya narratives of the Spanish Invasion

Santiago Muñoz Arbeláez

After the Conquest: Encomienda and the negotiation of tribute in the Valley of Mexico and the northern Andes


March 26, 2020
March 28, 2020