Spanish and Portuguese | Topics in Colonial Spanish American Literature
S659 | 25176 | K. Myers

Professor Kathleen Myers

S659	Topics in Colonial Spanish American Literature
Topic: Contested Conquests:  Hernán Cortés and the Conquest of Mexico

TR 1:00pm – 2:15/section# 25176/3cr/Location TBA (Lily Library)

Hernán Cortés’ march from Veracruz to Tenochtitlan (later Mexico
City) in his conquest of the Aztecs (1519 - 1521) is considered the
launching point for the Spanish conquest of Mesoamerica and the
beginning of extensive European colonial rule of the mainland of
America.  Cortés’ fifty-page written account of the march details
encounters with indigenous peoples: their customs, temples, and
markets.  His writing represents the beginning of a tradition of
ethnography in the Americas, but he wrote with a conqueror’s eye.
Many books, magazines, and films in Mexico, Spain, England and the
U.S. have treated the topic of Cortés’ route of conquest from a
military and historical perspective, but our focus will be Cortés’
role in the subsequent blending of Mesoamerican and European
cultures.  Using an interdisciplinary approach and materials that
span the nearly five centuries since the conquest, we will combine
the traditional study of the historiography of the conquest
(including such accounts as those by Bernal Díaz, Sahagún, and
Ixtlilxochit) with an examination of ethnographic interviews of
Mexicans today and visual materials from the twentieth- and twenty-
first centuries (such as magazines, murals, film, and new codices).
This methodology allows for different ways of telling stories and
different ways of asking questions.  Our multifaceted approach will
help us reach a deeper understanding of the rich and often painful
role the Conquest of Mexico still plays in Mexican culture.