Undergraduate Seminar: Picturing the New World: Illustrated Manuscripts from Early Colonial Mexico and Peru
Upper Division Seminar: C) Americas; II) 1200-1800. In this seminar we will delve into the texts and images of four remarkable illustrated manuscripts created during the Spanish colonization of the Americas. Created by various agents—Spanish friars and indigenous authors and artists—these four bodies of work constitute some of the earliest and most important historical sources on the pre-Hispanic world, its history, and its cultural traditions. But beyond their service as chronicles, these illustrated manuscripts can be examined as contested sites for the colonial negotiation of identity, culture, politics, and faith in the early decades of Spanish America.
Our corpus includes the bilingual “Florentine Codex” created in Mexico in the 1570s by Nahua writers and artists under the supervision of the Franciscan friar Bernardino de Sahagún, Martín de Murúa’s 1590 and 1613 manuscripts on the history of the Incas and Peru, and the native author and artist Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala’s 1615 “New Chronicle and Good Government,” written for Philip III in protest of Spanish colonial conditions in Peru.
This seminar is open to undergraduate and graduate students. The primary requirements will be active participation in class and the development of an original research paper using facsimiles and online digitizations of these illustrated manuscripts. Spanish reading ability is recommended but not required.