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Yanna Panayota Yannakakis
Emory University (Atlanta, GA 30322-1018)
Mexico’s Babel: Multilingualism, Law, and Society in Oaxaca from Colony to Republic

Multilingualism posed a problem to Mexico’s rulers from colonialism’s inception. Mexico’s Babel analyzes how the use and interplay of Spanish and indigenous languages in local courts structured inter-ethnic relations, knitted together state-centered and customary law, and put into dialogue Liberalism and cultural pluralism. Set in Oaxaca, Mexico’s most multiethnic and polyglot region, Mexico’s Babel illuminates how language policy and linguistic practices shaped indigenous peoples’ access to courts and the interpretation and application of the law from late colonialism to early nationhood (1660-1852). Mexico’s Babel contributes to a burgeoning scholarship on late-colonial and national era changes and continuities by asking how indigenous peoples fared in their transition from subjecthood to citizenship through the lens of law-society relations.

Project fields:
Latin American History

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2011 – 8/31/2011