The New Conquest History and the New Philology in Colonial Mesoamerica
- LAST REVIEWED: 05 May 2017
- LAST MODIFIED: 28 May 2013
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199766581-0113
- LAST REVIEWED: 05 May 2017
- LAST MODIFIED: 28 May 2013
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199766581-0113
The New Philology and the New Conquest History are labels commonly used to describe two interrelated developments in the study of Colonial Latin America (primarily colonial Mesoamerica). Both have been driven primarily by historians, but with important contributions made by anthropologists, art historians, and geographers. The New Philology (NP) originated in the late 1970s and the 1980s with groundbreaking studies of early colonial Central Mexico based on the reading of alphabetic sources in Nahuatl, primarily mundane, notarial, archival documents. It then evolved to include all of Mesoamerica, and to a far lesser extent the Andes (not covered here), but it remains rooted in the analysis of primary archival sources—typically mundane and notarial—written in indigenous languages. The New Conquest History (NCH) emerged in the 1990s, partially, but by no means entirely, out of the New Philology. One way to think of the two developments is as the overlapping circles of a Venn diagram, although there is not a consensus among specialists regarding which studies would go inside which circle. Broadly speaking, the NCH and NP have a common emphasis on Mesoamerica and indigenous Mesoamericans, but the NCH is focused more specifically on the 16th century, as opposed to the colonial period. The NCH has tended to be less focused on Central Mexico, more often including other regions of Mesoamerica. Like the NP, the NCH gives indigenous-language sources particular attention, but the NCH tendency has been to stress newly found sources or the re interpretation of familiar ones—be they written in Spanish or a native tongue, or a nontextual visual source—in order to reveal multiple protagonists in, and perspectives on, contact phenomena and conquest moments. This bibliography is limited to items in English; the reader should be aware that there is an important parallel literature in other languages, most obviously Spanish.
This section privileges the historiographical perspectives of James Lockhart and his former students. Terraciano and Sousa 2011 is a historiographical essay that is an effective and detailed complement to this Oxford Bibliographies article. Restall 2003a covers in detail, up to that year, the New Philology; Lockhart, the historian who arguably founded that school, is represented here in the form of two collections of essays that serve in various ways as historiographical reference points (Lockhart 1991 and Lockhart 1999), and in an online collection of essays (Lockhart, et al. 2007). Restall 2012 is a short essay, with bibliography, that seeks to make a case for the New Conquest History as an incipient school of scholarship, while Restall 2003b is an earlier effort to illustrate NCH perspectives in the context of the Spanish conquests throughout the Americas; Restall and Fernandez-Armesto 2011 is a slightly different approach to the topic.
Lockhart, James. Nahuas and Spaniards: Postconquest Central Mexican History and Philology. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1991.
This collection of essays complements Lockhart’s monograph The Nahuas after the Conquest (Lockhart 1992, cited under Monographs on Central Mexico) and focuses on central Mexico; it serves to introduce many of the themes of colonial Mexican historiography through the 1980s.
Lockhart, James. Of Things of the Indies: Essays Old and New in Early Latin American History. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1999.
This second collection has a broader scope but complements Lockhart 1991 and is of some relevance to early colonial Mexico.
Lockhart, James, Lisa Sousa, and Stephanie Wood, eds. Sources and Methods for the Study of Postconquest Mesoamerican Ethnohistory. Eugene: Wired Humanities Project, University of Oregon, 2007.
An online collection of essays by two dozen scholars describing and discussing a wide variety of primary sources and topics relating to colonial Mesoamerican history, with a particular emphasis on indigenous-language materials.
Restall, Matthew. “A History of the New Philology and the New Philology in History.” Latin American Research Review 38.1 (2003a): 113–134.
A historiographical essay defining this school of scholarship up to 2002, discussing the contributing studies, and suggesting where it might go in the future.
Restall, Matthew. Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003b.
This short, accessible volume aims to articulate many of the ideas that are explored in works of the New Conquest History, attempting to redefine the conquest of the Americas by addressing “common misconceptions” about the invasions and their consequences.
Restall, Matthew. “The New Conquest History.” History Compass 10 (2012): 151–160.
A brief historiographical essay that suggests how the NCH might be defined and where it might be headed.
Restall, Matthew, and Felipe Fernandez-Armesto. The Conquistadors: A Very Short Introduction. Very Short Introductions 301. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.
Similar in interpretation to Restall’s Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest (Restall 2003b), this accessible volume is briefer, updated, contains new material, and features the input of veteran world historian Fernández-Armesto.
Terraciano, Kevin, and Lisa Sousa. “The Historiography of New Spain.” In The Oxford Handbook of Latin American History. Edited by José C. Moya, 25–64. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.
A useful and up-to-date summary of how the study of New Spain has developed, presented as a readable essay and covering the whole colonial period. This essay helps the reader to see how the NCH and NP fit into the larger historiography of the region.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
- Agricultural Technologies
- Ancient Andean Textiles
- Andean Contributions to Rethinking the State and the Natio...
- Antislavery Narratives
- Arab Diaspora in Latin America, The
- Argentina in the Era of Mass Immigration
- Argentina, Slavery in
- Argentine Literature
- Army of Chile in the 19th Century
- Asian Art and Its Impact in the Americas, 1565–1840
- Asian-Peruvian Literature
- Atlantic Creoles
- Baroque and Neo-baroque Literary Tradition
- Bello, Andrés
- Black Experience in Colonial Latin America, The
- Black Experience in Modern Latin America, The
- Borderlands in Latin America, Conquest of
- Bourbon Reforms, The
- Brazilian Northeast, History of the
- Buenos Aires
- Caribbean Philosophical Association, The
- Caribbean, The Archaeology of the
- Cartagena de Indias
- Caste War of Yucatán, The
- Caudillos, 19th Century
- Cádiz Constitution and Liberalism, The
- Chaco War
- Children, History of
- Chile's Struggle for Independence
- Chronicle, The
- Church in Colonial Latin America, The
- Chávez, Hugo, and the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela
- Cinema, Contemporary Brazilian
- Cinema, Latin American
- Colonial Central America
- Colonial New Granada
- Colonial Portuguese Amazon Region, from the 17th to 18th C...
- Contemporary Maya, The
- Costa Rica
- Cárdenas and Cardenismo
- Cuban Revolution, The
- Dependency Theory in Latin American History
- Development of Architecture in New Spain, 1500–1810, The
- Development of Painting in Peru, 1520–1820, The
- Drug Trades in Latin America
- Dutch in South America and the Caribbean, The
- Early Colonial Forms of Native Expression in Mexico and Pe...
- Economies from Independence to Industrialization
- Ecuador, La Generación del 30 in
- El Salvador
- Enlightenment and its Visual Manifestations in Spanish Ame...
- Environmental History
- Era of Porfirio Díaz, 1876–1911, The
- Family History
- Film, Science Fiction
- Football (Soccer) in Latin America
- Gaucho Literature
- Gender in Colonial Brazil
- Gender in Postcolonial Latin America
- Guatemala and Yucatan, Conquest of
- Guatemala City
- Guatemala (Colonial Period)
- Guatemala (Modern & National Period)
- Haitian Revolution, The
- Health and Disease in Modern Latin America, History of
- History, Cultural
- History, Food
- Honor in Latin America to 1900
- Horror in Literature and Film in Latin America
- Human Rights in Latin America
- Immigration in Latin America
- Indigenous Elites in the Colonial Andes
- Indigenous Population and Justice System in Central Mexico...
- Indigenous Voices in Literature
- Japanese Presence in Latin America
- Jewish Presence in Latin America, The
- Las Casas, Bartolomé de
- Latin American Independence
- Latin American Urbanism, 1850-1950
- Law and Society in Latin America since 1800
- Legal History of New Spain, 16th-17th Centuries
- Legal History of the State and Church in 18th Century New ...
- Literature, Argentinian
- Machado de Assis
- Magical Realism
- Maroon Societies in Latin America
- Martí, José, and Cuba
- Mestizaje and the Legacy of José María Arguedas
- Mexican Nationalism
- Mexican Revolution, 1910–1940, The
- Mexican-US Relations
- Mexico, Conquest of
- Mexico, Education in
- Migration to the United States
- Military and Modern Latin America, The
- Military Government in Latin America, 1959–1990
- Military Institution in Colonial Latin America, The
- Modern Decorative Arts and Design, 1900–2000
- Modern Populism in Latin America
- Modernity and Decoloniality
- Musical Tradition in Latin America, The
- Native Presence in Postconquest Central Peru
- New Conquest History and the New Philology in Colonial Mes...
- New Left in Latin America, The
- Novel, Chronology of the Venezuelan
- Novel of the Mexican Revolution, The
- Novel, 19th Century Haitian
- Novel, The Colombian
- Oaxaca, Conquest and Colonial
- Painting in New Spain, 1521–1820
- Paraguayan War (War of the Triple Alliance)
- Pastoralism in the Andes
- Paz, Octavio
- Perón and Peronism
- Peru, Colonial
- Peru, Conquest of
- Peru, Slavery in
- Philippines Under Spanish Rule, 1571-1898
- Photography in the History of Race and Nation
- Political Exile in Latin America
- Popular Culture and Globalization
- Popular Movements in 19th-Century Latin America
- Post Conquest Aztecs
- Post-Conquest Demographic Collapse
- Poverty in Latin America
- Preconquest Incas
- Pre-conquest Mesoamerican States, The
- Pre-Revolutionary Mexico, State and Nation Formation in
- Printing and the Book
- Prints and the Circulation of Colonial Images
- Protestantism in Latin America
- Religions in Latin America
- Revolution and Reaction in Central America
- Rosas, Juan Manuel de
- Sandinista Revolution and the FSLN, The
- Santo Domingo
- Science and Empire in the Iberian Atlantic
- Sexualities in Latin America and the Caribbean
- Slavery in Brazil
- São Paulo
- Spanish and Portuguese Trade, 1500–1750
- Spanish Caribbean In The Colonial Period, The
- Spanish Colonial Decorative Arts, 1500-1825
- Spanish Florida
- Telenovelas and Melodrama in Latin America
- Textile Traditions of the Andes
- 16th-Century New Spain
- Transculturation and Literature
- Trujillo, Rafael
- Tupac Amaru Rebellion, The
- United States and Castro's Cuba in the Cold War, The
- United States and the Guatemalan Revolution, The
- United States Invasion of the Dominican Republic, 1961–196...
- Urban History
- Urbanization in the 20th Century, Latin America’s
- U.S.-Latin American Relations During the Cold War
- Vargas, Getúlio
- Venezuelan Literature
- Women and Labor in 20th-Century Latin America
- Women in Colonial Latin American History
- Women in Modern Latin American History
- Zapatista Rebellion in Chiapas