Editor’s note: This content is archival.
March 1988, Number 5
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 R. Huber. Editor
- In this issue
- Call for papers
- Request for assistance
- Items of Interest
- Directory of Nahua Specialists
- Institutional Subscribers
In this issue
Interest remains strong in Nahua prehistory, ethnohistory, linguistics, and
contemporary culture. Nearly forty institutions and two hundred scholars now subscribe
to the Nahua Newsletter. The sessions organized by Nahua specialists at the November
meeting of the American Anthropological Association in Chicago were extremely well
attended. It is hoped that we continue to exchange ideas in this manner and that the
updated and expanded directory in this issue will be useful to individuals organizing
symposia, conducting research, and publishing their findings.
This issue contains several requests for papers, news of upcoming symposia, recent
publications, and reports of scholarly/research activities. Since there were many new
subscribers, some of the items appearing in the previous issue can be found in this one
as well. Subscribers are encouraged to continue sending in information of this sort to
the Newsletter. Beginning with the next issue, the editor would also welcome short
research reports and descriptions/reviews of books.
The next issue of the Nahua Newsletter is planned for October 1988. Subscriptions
are free. They are requested by filling out the biographical information form at the
end of each issue. The same form can be used to place notes in the Newsletter, and add
or update biographical information. Please note that people with an electronic mail
address can now include it after their usual address under the “e-mail” tag.
Call for Papers
1) Louise Burkhart (The John Carter Brown Library) and Alan Sandstrom
(Indiana-Purdue University) are organizing a symposium for the November 16-20, 1988
American Anthropological Association meeting in Phoenix. The working title is
“Encountering the Aztecs: Five Centuries of Nahua Culture, History, and Language”.
Papers should deal with the culture of pre-Conquest, colonial, or modern Nahua
speakers. Topics in ethnography, linguistics, ethnohistory, or iconography will be
accepted. Those interested in presenting a paper should send the “Proposal for Paper”
and “Advanced Registration” forms (January 1988 Anthropology Newsletter), and a check
to AAA for registration to: Louise Burkhart, The John Carter Brown Library, Box 1894,
Providence, RI, 02912. Materials should be submitted by March 20th.
2) Mary H. Preuss (Editor, Latin American Indian Literatures Journal) notes that
“Nahua scholars are invited to submit manuscripts for consideration of publication in
LAIL Journal. Manuscripts should not be longer than 20 type-written, double-spaced
pages and must deal principally with some aspect of literature. Bibliographies should
follow the literary recommendations of the Chicago Manual of Style. Send to: Editor,
LAIL Journal, Dept. of Foreign Languages, Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA,
Also, LAILA/ALILA will hold its annual symposium in Guatemala City in June 13-17,
1988; and we hope that a large number of Nahuaists participate. There will be pre and
post session tours to areas of indigenous interest.” Details for the symposium can be
found on the following page.
3) Terry Stocker (University of West Florida) writes that “I am organizing a
symposium on ‘New World Figurine Studies’ for the 1989 SAA meetings. I now have 3
papers for South America, 15 for Mesoamerica and Central America, 5 for North America,
and 2 on methodology. These papers will be published as a volume under the same name.
The emphasis is on illustrations but participants are invited to address any aspect of
figurine studies that they wish.”
Requests for Assistance
1) Roger B. Coon (Indiana-Purdue at Ft. Wayne) asks that anyone with Huasteca
Nahuatl materials that they are willing to share is welcome to contact him.
2) Brad R. Huber (Hamilton College) is interested in acquiring materials for a
comparative study of Nahua medical specialists (curers, midwives, etc.) including: a)
general demographic information regarding healers (number currently practicing, their
age, sex, economic status, etc.), b) the manner by which individuals come to undertake
these medical roles, c) methods of diagnosis, treatment, and kinds of illnesses
attended, and d) participation in community-wide ritual and government health programs.
Published materials which are difficult to find, excerpts from dissertations, and
unpublished manuscripts/field notes are especially welcome.
3) Piotr Klafkowski writes that “I am very interested in any available Nahuatl
language recordings and any contemporary writings in various dialects, including Bible
translations (Classical and modern), as well as in any attempts at creating literary
works in Nahuatl. I have done research in the same problem on the Tibetan and Celtic
materials, and my chief general interest is how minority languages can develop when
facing an overpowering major language, and what role can be played in the language
survival process by emerging literatures. I would gladly correspond with those of
similar interest, to get a Nahuatl perspective. I am also interested in Yucatec
4) R. W. Wright is also interested in obtaining self-instruction materials,
particularly cassette tapes by which the Nahuatl and Quechua languages might be
learned. Readers with information on self-instruction materials are asked to contact
Klafkowski or Wright. The editor would also be pleased to publish information about
these materials in the next issue of the Nahua Newsletter.
5) Ann Millard (Michigan State University) “would like to hear from those interested
in giving presentations at a meeting and in publishing on Nahua ideas and behavior
concerning reproduction and on the household in regard to economic activities,
including pooling and reciprocity.”
6) Frans J. Schryer (University of Guelph) asks whether anyone has “come across any
archival references that refer to the following native pueblos located in the region of
Huejutla, state of Hidalgo: Jaltacon (Xaltocan), Santa Cruz, Panacaxtlan, Ixcatlan,
Chiquemecatitla, Macuxtepetla? I am particularly interested in the l8th century and
early 19th century.”
1) Carmen Aguilera (Biblioteca Nacional de Antropologia e Historia) informs us “that
the town of Tepeticpac, five minutes from Tlaxcala city had a tradition of making
pictorial manuscripts during the colonial period. The most ancient is the historical
lienzo drawn in black ink ca. 1537. It consists of a textile piece woven in a fine hard
fibre and tells of the wars and settlements of ancient tlaxcaltecans in the hill of
Tepeticpac. The iconographical and historical study is almost ready. There are three
more ‘lienzos’ in the town; they are cartographic and in a late style and show the main
geographical aspects of the area. Finally, the Sala de Testimonios Pictograficos of the
B.N.A.H. keeps a genealogical codex of Tepeticpac and an ancient copy. All these
documents will be published as a unit.”
2) Elizabeth Hill Boone, ed. The Aztec Templo Mayor: A Symposium at Dumbarton Oaks,
8th and 9th October 1983. Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and
3) Johanna Broda, David Carrasco, and Eduardo Matos Moctezuma. The Great Temple of
Tenochtitlan: Center and Periphery Aztec World. University of California Press.
4) Luis Nicolau D’Olwer (Mauricio J. Mixco, transl). Fray Bernardino de
Sahagún. (1499-1590). Reprint. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press,
5) R. David Drucker. “The Mexican (‘Aztec’) and Western Yucatec (Landa) Maya 365-day
Calendars: A Perpetual Relation”, American Antiquity 52(4) 1987, pp. 816-819.
6) Jacqueline de Durand-Forest (CNRS-Paris) has recently published “L’Histoire de a
Vallee de Mexico, selon Chimalpahin Cuauhtlehuanitzin”, (XIe-XVIe siecle). L’Harmattan,
Paris 1987, 667 p.; “Troisieme Relation de Chimalpahin Q. et autres Documents originaux
de Chimalpahin “Traduction de J. de Durand-Forest. L’Harmattan, Paris 1987, 271 p.
7) Barry L. Isaac (ed.) ECONOMIC ASPECTS OF PREHISPANIC HIGHLAND MEXICO, Supplement
2 of Research in Economic Anthropology, 1986. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press Inc.
The following five essays in Economic Aspects of Prehispanic Highland Mexico are on
the Aztec Period. They are:
- Prehispanic Roadways, Transport Network Geometry, and Aztec Politico-Economic
Organization in the Basin of Mexico, by Robert S. Santley The Division of Labor at
Xico: The Chipped Stone Industry, by Elizabeth M. Brumfiel
- Enterprise and Empire in Aztec and Early Colonial Mexico, by Frances F.
- Famine and Scarcity in the Valley of Mexico, by Ross Hassig
- Notes on Obsidian, the Pochteca, and the Position of Tlatelolco in the Aztec
Empire, by Barry L. Isaac
8) J. Jorge Klor de Alva (SUNY-Albany) notes that all books published by the IMS are
now solely distributed by the University of Texas Press.
9) Donald V. Kurtz (Wisconsin) recently published “The Economics of Urbanization and
State Formation at Teotihuacan,” CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY 28:329-353, 1987. A follow-up to
this research will be presented at the ICAES meetings in Zagreb in July, 1988.
10) Yolanda Lastra de Suarez (UNAM) writes that “Las Areas Dialectales del Nahuatl
Moderno came out in 1987 even though the date of publication is 1986. It is a
typological study of 92 sites of present-day Nahuatl which includes the original data
in order to make it available to researchers who may wish to interpret it for their own
purposes. The book can be ordered directly from Publicaciones, Instituto de Invest.
Antropologicas, UNAM, CU, Mexico, D.F., 04510, Mexico. Price: $20.00 (US) includes air
mail (books get lost by surface mail).”
11) James Lockhart (UCLA) notes “Now that the first volume of our Nahuatl Studies
Series (The Testaments of Culhuacan, edited by S.L. Cline and Miguel Leon-Portilla) has
gone out of print, another has been published. I hereby announce the appearance of THE
ART OF NAHUATL SPEECH: THE BANCROFT DIALOGUES, edited with a preliminary study by
Frances Karttunen and myself. The following passage from the book’s cover gives an
adequate notion of its characteristics:
The Bancroft Dialogues are a unique collection of conversations and speeches
composed in a flowery but colloquial Nahuatl by a native speaker, probably originally
in the late sixteenth century, to serve Spanish ecclesiastics as an introduction to the
commonplaces of polite speech. The document is a magnificent set of language lessons.
Illustrating greetings, stock metaphors, standard inversions and extensions of kinship
terms, and every modulation of the complex honorific formulas, the Dialogues can serve
modern learners of Nahuatl as well as they served the Franciscans and Jesuits of past
centuries. The material is attractive in itself, covering acts of speech from chitchat
among relatives to advice for mischievous boys to royal elegies. Another great asset of
the Dialogues is their diacritics; the document is the only known extended running text
in older Nahuatl with consistent notation of vowel length and glottal stop.
In the present publication, the text is printed with full reproduction of its
diacritics for the first time. An up-to-date idiomatic English translation faces the
Nahuatl, and a second, more literal translation is presented separately, primarily as
an aid to learners. A substantial preliminary study discusses the origin of the
document, goes deeply into questions of usage and idiom, and provides extensive
commentary on the phonological and morphological implications of the Dialogues’
I emphasize especially (1) that the preliminary study is of near monograph size,
occupying half the volume, (2) that the original document with translation constitutes
one of the best sets of lessons ever devised for learning the subtleties of older
Nahuatl and is ideal as a corpus of materials for an advanced Nahuatl class to work
with, and (3) that the translated document gives even readers without much Nahuatl a
vivid human experience and a good sense of the tone of polite society in indigenous
In the externals, the appearance of the pages is more polished than was the case
with the first volume. The book is paperback, consists of 232 pages, and sells for
$16.50 plus tax and postage.”
Information for ordering this book can be requested from:
UCLA Latin American Center
University of California
Los Angeles, CA 90024-1447
12) The General Editor of MEXICON, Hanns J. Prem, informs us that “Mexicon was
created back in 1979 by a small group of Mesoamericanists in Germany with the aim of
providing a much-needed vehicle for the speedy dissemination of news and information to
the ever-expanding international circle of scholars and laymen interested in
Mesoamerica. Since then, Mexicon has evolved into a full-fledged journal, appearing 6
times a year with an annual volume size of around 120 pages.
Each issue of Mexicon contains:
- A cover photo of a hitherto unpublished, or inadequately published, item of
anthropological interest discussed in the issue.
- “News and Notes,” bringing you (1) textual and graphic data informing on and
illustrating recent discoveries, (2) the preliminary results of ongoing research, (3)
information on forthcoming events and other activities in the Americas and Europe
pertaining to Mesoamerica. As of Vol. 8, this section is published in English.
- Two to four “scholarly contributions” on Mesoamerican topics, usually in English,
but occasionally, also in Spanish and German, each with summaries in the other two
- “Additions and Corrections,” providing useful comment on and revisions to prior
- Last but not least, a “bibliographic section” with the latest information on new
publications in the Mesoamerican area, organized into two categories: (1) monographs
and (2) articles in journals and periodicals.”
Mexicon is currently in its 9th year and now reaches about 500 subscribers (both
institutions and individuals) representing all continents. Subscription information can
be obtained from: Leo P. Biese, Lothrop Memorial Library, Box 79, Murray Hill Road,
Hill, NH, 03243, USA.
Items of Interest
1) R. Joe Campbell (Latin American Studies, Indiana University) and Marc Eisinger
(IBM, Paris) have completed the task of putting the Nahuatl of the Florentine Codex
into machine readable form. From this corpus, Eisinger and Campbell are compiling a
Nahuatl Word-Index to the Florentine Codex, and Campbell and Mary Clayton (Spanish and
Portuguese, Indiana University) are preparing a concordance for use in constructing a
Dictionary of the Florentine Codex. Plans are to later make the concordance available
on microfiche. Clayton is currently preparing an edition of Ayer ms. 1478, the
so-called Vocabulario trilingue, accompanied by a Nahuatl sort of the word-list and a
detailed study of the work.
2) R.A.M. van Zantwijk (University of Utrecht) notes that “The next International
Congress of Americanists will take place in Amsterdam on 4-8 July 1988. At this moment
25 Nahua-specialists from all over the world have committed themselves to present a
paper in the Symposium about Aztec Dual structures and Organizations that I am