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Enrique R. Rodriguez-Alegria
University of Texas, Austin (Austin, TX 78712-0100)
The Material Worlds of 16th-Century Colonial Mexico City

The writing of a book on the material culture of 16th-century Mexico City.

The proposed project reevaluates the social and cultural strategies of Spanish colonizers in Mexico City, in light of recent studies that have shown that indigenous people maintained much power in the colonial period. It focuses on more than 11,000 belongings of 39 Spanish colonizers found in probate inventories, and on artifacts and architecture excavated in Spanish houses in Mexico City. The study includes analysis of how the city transformed, the use of indigenous and Spanish technologies, clothing, food, and how the material aspects of daily life were part of political and social strategies for obtaining power. The main theoretical contribution will be a vision of colonialism not just as an act of ethnic separatism, but also a process of interethnic recognition, alliance formation, and conflict. In this case, class differences were not entirely the same as ethnic difference, and in many occasions, class differences guided the strategies of colonizers more than ethnic differences.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Anthropology; Archaeology; Latin American Studies

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2016 – 7/31/2017