Number 3

Editor’s note: This content is archival.

Nahua Newsletter

October 1987, Number 3

The Nahua Newsletter
With support from the Department of Anthropology
Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne
Alan R. Sandstrom, Editor
A Publication of the Indiana University
Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Brad Huber, Editor


In this issue

Welcome to the third issue of the Nahua Newsletter. We have come a long way since
the 1985 American Anthropological Association Meeting in Washington, when a small group
of people met with Jane Hill (University of Arizona) and James Taggart (Franklin and
Marshall) to plan a symposium on Nahua ethnohistory, linguistics, and contemporary
culture. The overwhelming success of the following year’s AAA symposium in Philadelphia
and the growing number of subscribers to the Nahua Newsletter suggest that there are
many benefits to be derived from the continued interaction of Nahua specialists. It is
hoped that this newsletter continues to be an effective means by which Nahua
specialists exchange information and ideas with each other. Readers’ comments,
suggestions, and opinions are always welcome.

The editor is pleased to report that another symposium is being organized for Nahua
specialists at the November 1987 Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological
Association in Chicago. Details are provided below. In addition to this news, the
present issue contains an update on the effort to compile a comprehensive bibliography
on Nahua sources, requests for assistance, titles and details of new publications,
requests for manuscripts, and other items of general interest.

Subscriptions to the Nahua Newsletter are free and may be requested by completing
the form on the last page of each issue. Readers are asked to make copies of the
present issue and send them to Nahua specialists not listed on the roster.

A fourth issue of the Nahua Newsletter will appear in October 1987. Readers are
again invited to fill out 2 and 3 of the Biographical Information Form and to send
these forms to the editor. Responses will be listed in the fourth and subsequent issues
of the Nahua Newsletter in the form of a directory listing a specialist’s primary
interest in Nahua studies and a brief description of his or her current (last 5 years)
scholarly /research activities. Responses will be printed exactly as they appear on
these forms. Those who have previously filled out the Biographical Information Form may
amend their responses in order to bring them up to date. Anyone who does not wish to be
listed in the directory can notify the editor. To date, approximately twenty-five
individuals have chosen to be listed in this directory.

Call for papers

Alan Sandstrom (Indiana-Purdue University) and Brad Huber (University of Pittsburgh)
are organizing a symposium for the November 18-22, 1987 American Anthropological
Association meeting in Chicago. Like last year, the theme for this year’s symposium
will be kept general to attract a wide variety of paper topics (ethnohistory,
linguistics, cultural anthropology, archaeology). The symposium is provisionally titled
“Aztec Adaptation from Colonialism to Modernization.” If you are interested in
presenting a paper, you should send the “Proposal for Paper” and “Advanced
Registration” forms (January 1987 Anthropology Newsletter), and a registration check
made out to the AAA to: Alan R. Sandstrom, Department of Anthropology, Indiana-Purdue
University, 2101 Coliseum Blvd. East, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46805. These items must reach
Alan no later than March 25th.

Bibliography update

1. Frances Karttunen (University of Texas, Austin) informs us:

“Concerning the [October 1986, Newsletter] inquiry of Martin Sable (University of
Wisconsin-Milwaukee) about bibliographic material, here are some things that anyone
working with Nahuatl should be aware of: 1) Bill Bright (UCLA) has an annotated
bibliography in mimeographed form that he has made available to UCLA students for
years, 2) Fritz Schwaller (Florida Atlantic University) has done a whole series of
carefully annotated catalogues of library holdings in Nahuatl. The first of them was
published in 1973 in the Indiana University Bookman, and he has by now covered most
or all of the major collections in the USA. (In the same newsletter with the query
from Sable, Schwaller lists the libraries he has already surveyed and asks about
more. I know there are some Nahuatl holdings in the New York Public Library and the
Special Collections of UT-San Antonio.), 3) Willard Gingerich (University of Texas,
El Paso) has published an article entitled “A Bibliographic Introduction to Twenty
Manuscripts of Classical Nahuatl Literature” in the Latin American Research Review,
4) In Tlalocan IV: 17-48, June Ripley published a bibliography entitled “Nahuatl
Source Materials 1887-1952.” A projected second section to be published in a later
issue did not materialize, and 5) In the first issue of Estudios de Cultura Nahuatl
appeared “Bibliografía Sobre Cultura Nahuatl: 1950-1958” by Concepción
Basilio, and beginning with ECN XV. Ascención H. de León-Portilla
(UNAM) has been contributing a regular section entitled “Publicaciones Sobre Lengua y
Literatura Nahuas,” in addition to “Reseñas Bibliográficas,” a regular
feature of ECN written by various different scholars.”

2. Jane Hill (University or Arizona) also mentions the “very useful ongoing
bibliographical series contributed by Ascención León-Portilla to Estudios
de Cultura Nahuatl.” She indicates that Ascención would appreciate knowing
“about North American publications as they appear. (It’s harder to find North American
journals, article collections in Mexico these days).” In addition, Jane Hill suggests

“Ascención should be a member of any ongoing bibliographic committee, and
such a committee should be international and interdisciplinary. To represent
linguistics, I nominate William Bright, who did the bibliographies for the Handbook
of Middle Americans Indians.”

3.Finally, Eloise Quiñones-Keber (Baruch College, City University of New
York) writes that:

“Dr. H. B. Nicholson (UCLA) and I are currently compiling an annotated
bibliography of Aztec Art and Iconography. We are also working on the Aztec Archive
(housed at UCLA, Department of Anthropology), a comprehensive photographic data bank
of Aztec objects (sculpture, in particular).”

Recent Publications

1. The Department of Linguistics, University of Texas-Austin advises us that copies
of Texas Linguistic Forum 26: Nahuatl and Maya in Contact with Spanish are still
available. TLF:26 can be ordered from: Texas Linguistic Forum, Department of
Linguistics, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712. TLF:26 costs $6.00. Please add $.75
for domestic postage and $1.00 for postage to addresses outside the continental USA.
Checks should be made payable to The University of Texas.

2. The Editor of the journal New Scholar, Vernon Kjonegaard (University of
California-Santa Barbara), informs us that the current number “Voices of the First
America: Text & Context in the New World” (511pp., paperbound) is now available.
This issue contains a variety of interesting articles including Rudolf van Zantwijk’s
“The Image of Tenochtitlan in the Aztec Literary Tradition,” Willard Gingerich’s
“Quetzalcoatl and the Agon of Time in the Anales de Cuauhtitlan,” Richard Haly’s “The
Poetics of the Aztecs,” and A. J. 0. Anderson’s “The Irrepressible Sorcerers: Verbal
Art in Colonial Nahua Society.”

New Scholar provides a forum for understanding the unique human condition and
experience in the Américas. The journal’s focus on the social sciences and
humanities encompasses the research of those scholars concerned with the impact of the
past as well as contemporary processes and events of the hemisphere. Manuscripts which
deal creatively with methodology and interpretation are especially encouraged.
Subscription rates are $32 for institutions and $12 for individuals. Individual orders
must be pre-paid. All inquiries to: New Scholar, South Hall 4607, University of
California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106.

3. S. L. Cline (University of California-Santa Barbara) has recently written a book
entitled Colonial Culhuacan, 1580-1600: A Social History of an Aztec Town, University
of New Mexico Press, 1986.

4. Jane H. Hill and Kenneth C. Hill (University of Arizona) have recently written a
book entitled Speaking Mexicano: Dynamics of Syncretic Language in Central Mexico,
University of Arizona Press, 1986, cloth $40.00. 493pp. Speaking Mexicano is a
sociolinguistic study of language use and change in Malinche Mexicano.

Cooperation column

1. Michael E. Smith (Loyola University) comments:

“As part of a study of archaeological ceramics from the Aztec-period sites in
Morelos, I am looking at the relationship of ceramic vessel form and function. I
would appreciate references to ethnographic or ethnohistoric treatments of the uses,
shapes, and terms for ceramic vessels among Nahua groups. So far I have looked at
Sahagún and other published chroniclers, and have consulted Molina and other
dictionaries. Ethnographic data is scarce and any suggestions would be

Suggestions can be sent to: Dr. Michael E. Smith, Dept. of Sociology and
Anthropology, Loyola University, 6525 N. Sheridan Rd., Chicago, IL 60626.

2. Lori Jacobson (McAllen International Museum) writes:

As curator at the McAllen International Museum, I periodically travel in Mexico documenting contemporary folk arts, including masks and textiles. We also feature two exhibitions each year from this collection. I would be pleased to learn about current research projects and findings…”
Correspondence can be sent to: Lori Jacobson, Curator of Collections, McAllen International Museum, 1900 Nolana, McAllen, TX 78504. 3. The Editor of the Latin American Indian Literatures (LAIL) Journal, Mary H. Preuss, informs us that she would like to collaborate in our communicative and educational efforts related to the indigenous peoples of Latin America by establishing an exchange of publications and camera-ready advertisements. She can offer both LAIL Journal and the Newsletter of LAILA/ ALILA for these purposes. She also states that she would like more articles in LAIL Journal about Nahua literaturesstudies of the literature itself, motifs, interpretations, etc. or indigenous texts with English translations and commentaries. In addition, reviewers of books on Nahua topics are needed from time to time. Those wishing further information about LAIL Journal can write: Mary H. Preuss, Editor, LAIL Journal, Department of Foreign Languages, Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA 15010-3599.

4. Jane Hill (University of Arizona-Tucson) writes that:

“I am interested in the evolution of the vocabulary of ethnic and class identity.
This interest is spurred by the use of the term “Mexicano” by Mexicano (Nahuatl)-
speakers in Tlaxcala to identify themselves ethnically and linguistically–that is,
they call the language “Mexicano,” but they also call THEMSELVES “Mexicanos” or

I would like to know when this designation began to be frequent [in Tlaxcala] ,
and ditto for other parts of Mexico. The early documents all use “Tlaxcalteca” or
“nican tlacah,” or some such (while the Spanish documents are saying “Indios” or
“naturales” or “indigenas”). By the 18th c. macehual(li) has moved out of its 16th
century usage as “commoner” (in contrast with pipiltin, tecuhtin) and is coming to be
the Nahuatl equivalent of the Spanish ethnic terms. But it’s not clear when
“Mexicano” begins to be very important–it may even be as late as the 1910
revolution. I’d be very interested if anyone has information on 19th century
documents generated from within Nahuatl- speaking communities which might shed light
on this question, which is involved with the kinds of relationships with, and claims
on, the Mexican state which indigenous communities see themselves as having. I would
also like to know about contemporary usages from ethnographers–the ethnographic
literature largely ignores the question of identity terms, and some of it very
clearly imposes external categories while neglecting the ethnographic task of lexical
analysis of taxonomies of ethnicity. The question is, what are the terms by which
people customarily and habitually, to one another, refer to themselves, and to
others, in a variety of contexts.

5. Frances Karttunen (University of Texas-Austin) requests:

Any recipients of the Newsletter with an interest in a ‘foundation course’ in Nahuatl should contact me… at the Linguistics Research Center, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712. … By a ‘foundation course’, I mean one that would lay the groundwork for moving on to archival work for some and to elicitation and fieldwork for others–a course that would provide a rational outline of the general grammar plus practice in dealing with the language through exercises. It could also serve as a refresher course for people who have some knowledge of the language already but need to make sense of what they know. Ideally such a course would take place in the summer so that people from various institutions and locations could get together.

6. Alan R. Sandstrom (Indiana-Purdue University) notes that through his contacts in
the field last year, he has access to the entire collection of maps of Mexico put out
by the Instituto Nacional de Estadistica Geografia e Informatica. Maps run a few
dollars each and he will be glad to make them available to interested parties at no
profit to himself. To request more information, write to Alan R. Sandstrom, Department
of Anthropology, Indiana-Purdue University, 2101 Coliseum Blvd. East, Fort Wayne, IN
46805. Those writing to him should indicate the areas of Mexico in which they are
interested. He will then send a photocopy of the appropriate section of the key map
along with instructions about ordering. Below is a list of maps and statistical
compilations currently available through his source from the Institute.


Scale 1:50,000
Soil Usage
Edaphology (Pedology)
Potential Soil Usage
Scale 1:250,000
Climatic Effects Nov-Apr
Climatic Effects Dec-Oct
Hydrology: Surface Waters
Hydrology: Ground Waters
Agriculture: Potential Usage
Cattle Breeding: Potential Usage
Forestry: Potential Usage
Edaphology (Pedology)
Vegetation and Soil Usage
Scale 1:1,000,000
Vegetation and Soil Usage
Edaphology (Pedology)
Hydrology: Surface Waters
Hydrology: Ground Waters
Mean Annual Temperatures
Total Annual Rainfall
Soil Humidity
Agriculture: Potential Usage
Cattle Breeding: Potential Usage
Forestry: Potential Usage
Scale 1:4.000,000
Mexican Republic
(cost per map for all of the above $4 U.S., includes shipping)
Mexican Republic in Plastic with Raised Relief
(cost of raised relief map $18 U.S., includes shipping)


    prices include shipping)
    134pp. ($4 U.S.)
  • AGENDA ESTADISTICA 1985. 254pp. ($4 U.S.)
  • ATLAS CARTOGRAFIOCO HISTORICO. 266pp. 93 illus. 71 color. ($32 U.S.)
  • ANUARIO ESTATAL DE VERACRUZ 1984. 3316pp. ($25 U.S.)

Other News

1. Two news items of interest which appeared in the January 1987 Anthropology
Newsletter : “The Department of Anthropology of the Universidad de las
Américas-Puebla (Mexico), as part of its current expansion program, is planning
the publication of several volumes on the Anthropology of the Puebla-Tlaxcala Valley
and Adjacent Regions. Mesoamericanists working in this area are invited to submit
papers and research reports in any subfield of the discipline (ethnology, archeology,
physical anthropology, linguistics or ethnohistory) for possible publication in this
series. Articles may be submitted in English or Spanish, should be no more than 25
pages in length and should include an abstract no longer than 4 pages (which will be
published in the language opposite that of the article). Contributions will be refereed
and must be postmarked no later than April 15. Manuscripts longer than 25 pages will be
considered if they possess special merit. Contact Ed, Publications Series, Dept. of
Anthropology, Universidad de las Américas, AP 100 Sta Catarina Mártir,
72820 Puebla. Mexico.”

“The Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES) has announced that some
1987-88 Fulbright Lecturing Grants remain available in anthropology and archeology. For
Latin America, the specific openings are in Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Mexico.
Scholars in all academic ranks, including emeritus, are eligible to apply. Requirements
include US citizenship, the PhD, college or university teaching experience, evidence of
scholarly productivity and knowledge of Spanish. For more information, contact CIES, 11
Dupont Circle NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20036; 202/939-5401.”

2. John Bierhorst has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to
prepare an edition of the Romances de los señores de la Nueva España.

3. Cornell University will host the V International Symposium on Latin American
Indian Literatures on June 3-6, 1987. In 1988, this event will be held in Guatemala and
in 1989, at the University of New Mexico as part of that university’s Bicentennial
Celebration. For further information, write Dr. Richard N. Luxton, LAILA/ALILA Symposia
Chairman, P.O. Box 163553, Sacramento, CA 95816.


More than one hundred Nahua specialists currently subscribe to the Nahua Newsletter.
In addition to these subscribers, approximately twenty Latin American Studies programs
have been added to the mailing list. The directors of these programs are asked to
cooperate with us in contacting Nahua specialists not listed in this issue’s

Editor’s note: For privacy purposes, membership mailing lists are only provided on the print version. If you have any member or subscription questions, please contact the editor.

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