Sensory Worlds of the Early Americas
Publication Year: 2014
Published by: University of Nebraska Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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List of Illustrations
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Colonial Mediascapes is a bold and ambitious project that proposes new ways of thinking about books, technology, and American Indians. When the old ways of thinking are filled with rusted and corroding words, sometimes the new ways require new words. New words....
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We are most of all grateful to all of our contributors, for their generosity, care, and patience. For the existence and much of the quality of this book, we owe a debt to our anonymous readers and the editorial staff at the University of Nebraska Press, and to Matt Bokovoy in particular...
Matt Cohen and Jeffrey Glover
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New World colonialism catalyzed an extraordinary range of controversies and theories about humanness and history, many of which centered on the question of communication— and writing in particular. Could a people without what Westerners recognized as “writing” know...
Part I. Beyond Textual Media
1. Dead Metaphor or WorkingModel? “The Book” in Native America
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On July 12, 1562, Diego de Landa (1524– 79), the bishop of Yucatán, ordered the friars at the Franciscan mission in Mani to put to the torch a quantity of Mayan “idols,” calendar scrolls (katuns), and “books.” In his 1566 Relación de las cosas de Yucatán, Landa observed of the katuns...
2. Early Americanist Grammatology
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In The Legacies of Literacy: Continuities and Contradictions in Western Culture and Society, Harvey Graff points out that “virtually all” discussions of literacy “founder because they slight efforts to formulate consistent and realistic definitions of literacy, have little appreciation of the...
3. Indigenous Histories and ArchivalMedia in the Early Modern Great Lakes
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For historians seeking to understand indigenous responses to colonialism in early America, or indigenous histories more broadly, the necessity of relying exclusively on sources authored by colonists has proved a frustrating limitation. In recent decades, scholars have
Part II. Multimedia Texts
4. The Manuscript, the Quipu, and the Early American Book
Birgit Brander Rasmussen
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In 1613, a Native American from the Andes who called himself Don Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala finished a 1,189- page manuscript titled Nueva corónica y buen gobierno.¹ Addressed to King Phillip III of Spain, this text represents an immensely ambitious effort to address...
5. Semiotics, Aesthetics, and the Quechua Concept of Quilca
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European societies have always seen writing as an important indicator of “civilization.” Even today, many scholars seem to feel compelled to pronounce on whether or not the cultures they study possessed a form of writing. One could argue on a number of different grounds...
6. “Take My Scalp, Please!”
Gordon M. Sayre
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Southwestern humor, including the tall tale, emerged into U.S. literary history in the Jacksonian period, as white anglophone backsettlers gained political influence among East Coast metropolitans. It reached canonical status, of course, with Mark Twain, whose pen name came...
Part III. Sensory New Worlds
7. Brave New Worlds
Peter Charles Hoffer
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How do we deal with novelty, the unexpected, the unforeseen? When our senses alert us that we face a new situation, how do we respond? Insofar as senses are tutored by our culture, our reaction to the unfamiliar is scripted. The intonations are our own; the words are those...
8. Howls, Snarls, and Musket Shots
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Woath woach ha ha hach woath. The great and hideous cry jerked the landing party awake. “Arm, arm,” yelled a sentinel. Muskets boomed and fell silent. Men traded whispers in the dark. One, a sailor, had heard the cry before. Companies of wolves, he reported, often sung to...
9. Hearing Wampum: The Senses,Mediation, and the Limits of Analogy
Richard Cullen Rath
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In 1756, Virginia citizens were feeling anxious and vulnerable to the threat of the Catawbas and Cherokees joining the French in the war against the English. Relations with the Indians were already strained on a number of fronts. Catawbas had successfully played internal colonial...
Part IV. Transatlantic Mediascapes
10. Writing as “Khipu”
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In 1571 the penultimate ruler of the Inca dynasty, Titu Cusi Yupanqui, collaborated with an Augustinian monk and a mestizo secretary to produce a text unique in the history of early American mediascapes. Instrucción del Inca Don Diego de Castro Titu Cusi Yupanqui al Licenciado...
11. Christian Indians at War
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In the fall of 1710, the French Jesuit Louis d’Avaugour wrote to his superior Joseph Louis- Germain to report on the town of Lorette, located on the bank of the Saint- Charles River just northwest of Quebec. After briefly describing his evangelical endeavors among the...
12. The Algonquian Word and the Spiritof Divine Truth
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Over the course of the settlement of the New World in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, European missionaries discovered the power and knowledge available to those who learned Indian languages. Spanish missionaries began a massive effort to compile, organize, and...
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Page Count: 464
Publication Year: 2014