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Products for grant FA-232662-16

FA-232662-16
The Material Worlds of 16th-Century Colonial Mexico City
Enrique Rodriguez-Alegria, University of Texas, Austin

Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=FA-232662-16

“Indigenous Engineering and Aesthetics in Colonial Mexico City.” Lecture presented at the Archaeological Research Facility, University of California, Berkeley. (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: “Indigenous Engineering and Aesthetics in Colonial Mexico City.” Lecture presented at the Archaeological Research Facility, University of California, Berkeley.
Author: Enrique Rodríguez-Alegría
Abstract: Archaeological excavations in the heart of Mexico City can help understand how indigenous people created and transformed both public and private spaces in the city before and after the Spanish conquest of 1521. Scholars have remarked that historical narratives left by Spanish colonizers describe Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec empire, as a feature of the landscape rather than a feat of indigenous engineering. Scholarship on architecture and urban change after the conquest has in turn focused extensively on the actions of colonizers in destroying the previous city and building new, more European buildings. Archaeological data from Mexico City show that many pre-conquest engineering techniques were used to build the colonial city, allowing us to see the role of indigenous engineering, architecture, and technology in building the capital of New Spain. Archaeological data also show that indigenous builders created the earliest houses for Spanish colonizers with their traditional, indigenous aesthetics.
Date: 10/26/2017
Conference Name: Archaeological Research Facility, University of California, Berkeley.

“Indigenous Construction in Colonial Houses in Mexico City.” Lecture presented at the Archaeological Research Center, University of California, Santa Cruz. (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: “Indigenous Construction in Colonial Houses in Mexico City.” Lecture presented at the Archaeological Research Center, University of California, Santa Cruz.
Author: Enrique Rodríguez-Alegría
Abstract: Archaeological excavations in the heart of Mexico City can help understand how indigenous people created and transformed both public and private spaces in the city before and after the Spanish conquest of 1521. Scholars have remarked that historical narratives left by Spanish colonizers describe Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec empire, as a feature of the landscape rather than a feat of indigenous engineering. Scholarship on architecture and urban change after the conquest has in turn focused extensively on the actions of colonizers in destroying the previous city and building new, more European buildings. Archaeological data from Mexico City show that many pre-conquest engineering techniques were used to build the colonial city, allowing us to see the role of indigenous engineering, architecture, and technology in building the capital of New Spain. Archaeological data also show that indigenous builders created the earliest houses for Spanish colonizers with their traditional, indigenous aesthetics.
Date: 10/27/2017
Conference Name: Lecture presented at the Archaeological Research Center, University of California, Santa Cruz.

Coins and Empire in Sixteenth-century Mexico. (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Coins and Empire in Sixteenth-century Mexico.
Author: Enrique Rodríguez-Alegría
Abstract: Scholars have asked how empires solidify power when colonizers, the agents of empire-building, often have diverse goals and backgrounds and their actions do not necessarily support the goals of the empire. Two answers to this question have received attention: that empires promote ideologies that support cohesion among colonizers, and that coercion and violence can promote the expansion of empires. I propose a third answer, in which colonizers create varied material forms that may challenge the goals of empire, but later appeal to the king for regulation and control over the material world. To illustrate this case, I use the example of coins among Spanish colonizers in Mexico City. Colonizers invented and used a variety of coins, in part by diluting gold into different alloys to make up for the scarcity of gold that they found in the colonies. Thus, they challenged imperial authority by creating new ways of measuring value and wealth (in this case, by creating more wealth with diluted gold). But when they found that their new coins created problems of conversion and exchange, they appealed to the crown requesting regulations over the minting, value, and use of different coins, thereby strengthening imperial authority.
Date: 4/13/2018
Conference Name: Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.


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