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Rereading the Conquest: Power, Politics, and the History of Early Colonial Michoacan, Mexico, 1521-1565 (Hardback)
  • Rereading the Conquest: Power, Politics, and the History of Early Colonial Michoacan, Mexico, 1521-1565 (Hardback)

Rereading the Conquest: Power, Politics, and the History of Early Colonial Michoacan, Mexico, 1521-1565 (Hardback)

Hardback 240 Pages / Published: 16/11/2001
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Combining social history with literary criticism, James Krippner-Mart nez shows how a historiographically sensitive rereading of contemporaneous documents concerning the sixteenth-century Spanish conquest and evangelization of Michoac n, and of later writings using them, can challenge traditional celebratory interpretations of missionary activity in early colonial Mexico.

The book offers a fresh look at religion, politics, and the writing of history by employing a poststructuralist method that engages the exclusions as well as the content of the historical record. The moments of doubt, contradiction, and ambiguity thereby uncovered lead to deconstructing a coherent conquest narrative that continues to resonate in our present age.

Part I, "The Politics of Conquest," deals with primary sources compiled from 1521 to 1565. Krippner-Mart nez here examines the execution of Cazonci, the indigenous ruler of Michoac n, as recounted in the trial record produced by his executioners; explores the missionary-Indian encounter as revealed in the Relaci n de Michoac n; and assesses the writings of Michoac n's first bishop, the legendary Vasco de Quiroga, and their complex interplay of authoritarian paternalism and reformist hope. Part II, "Reflections," looks at how the memory of these historical figures is represented in later eras. A key text for this discussion is the Cr nica de Michoach n, written in the late eighteenth century by the Franciscan intellectual Pablo de Beaumont.

Krippner-Mart nez concludes with a critique of the debate that initiated his investigation--the controversy between Latin Americans and Europeans over the colonialist legacy, beginning with the Latin American Bishops Conference in 1992.

Publisher: Pennsylvania State University Press
ISBN: 9780271021294
Number of pages: 240
Weight: 540 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm


"(T)he book is a welcome addition to the historiography of this region and should stimulate lively debate in the coming years."

--Helen Perlstein Pollard, Hispanic American Historical Review

"James Krippner-Martinez's book, Rereading the Conquest, is a brief collection of five essays, most of which offer a fresh reading of various writings from colonial Mexico about the political and spiritual conquest of Michoacan."

--John E. Kicza, Latin American Research Review

"Rereading the Conquest is a charmingly written account of the relatively neglected area of Michoac n, not far from the Nahua-speaking regions geographically but distant from them in cultural terms. Krippner-Mart nez's work should appeal to anyone interested in understanding the complexities of conversion in the sixteenth-century Americas and will be especially valuable to those interested in reading an intellectual engagement with the leading Catholic intellectuals of Latin America."

--Patricia Seed, Rice University

"Krippner-Mart nez is heavily influenced by postmodernist theory and well versed in recent literature on cultural history. Those familiar with his theoretical base and the historiography of colonial Michoac n will find this work stimulating for the methodology it employs and the insights it provides."

--V. H. Cummins, Choice

"The corpus of regional studies on colonial and independent Mexico has been expanding significantly. Krippner-Mart nez's is a recent addition, which tackles some common aspects of the history of early colonial Michoacan with a refreshing perspective.

Many aspects of the book stimulate reflection and analysis; here I have chosen to concentrate on two figures that could symbolize, in my view, the early history of Michoacan itself.

Through these five essays the author places some well-known written records in a better understood historical context, a most worthy undertaking. Moreover, he leaves us needing to rethink on the one hand the image of Quiroga as a successful missionary beloved by the natives, and one the other the image of the natives as limited to being recipients or active opponents. Stimulating debate over too-easily-accepted paradigms is one of the achievements of a good book."

--Caterina Pizzigoni, Journal of Latin American Studies

"James Krippner-Mart nez's present study is complex, and his rich discourse is delightful indeed."

--Amos Megged, E.I.A.L.

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