Number 6

Editor’s note: This content is archival.

Nahua Newsletter

November 1988, Number 6

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

Welcome to the sixth issue of The Nahua Newsletter. The number of subscribers has
increased considerably over the past two and one-half years. This issue was sent to 189
specialists in Nahua physical anthropology, prehistory, linguistics, ethnohistory and
contemporary culture, as well as to 38 institutions–Latin American studies centers,
libraries, and publishers.

Nahua scholars continue to be very active. This issue contains news of recent
publications, fellowships, an NEH summer institute, applied research in Guadalajara, a
meeting of medical anthropologists in Mexico City, etc. From Wednesday, November 16 to
Sunday, November 20, a large number of people will be participating in the 87th Annual
Meeting of the American Anthropological Association in Phoenix.

Since the first issue of The Nahua Newsletter appeared in February 1986, it has been
suggested on occasion that subscribers work more closely with each other (e.g.,
formally organize, affiliate with another academic association, publish a journal). It
is the editor’s opinion that we should now decide whether we want to more closely
coordinate our activities as researchers, teachers, bibliographers, and publishers.
Reader comments would be very welcome on this topic.

The directory in this issue is meant to update and supplement the 39-page directory
of Issue 5. A limited number of Issues 1-5 are still available. However, the editor
would appreciate that requests be accompanied with a self-addressed stamped

The editor wishes to thank Alan Sandstrom, Indiana-Purdue University, J. Jorge Klor
de Alva, and SUNY-Albany’s Institute for Mesoamerican Studies. They made the typing,
copying, and mailing of this issue possible. As a consequence, subscriptions to the
Newsletter are still free. However, individuals who wish to receive the next issue are
asked to fill out Item 1 of the “Subscription Form” at the end of this Newsletter, and
return it to:

Brad R. Huber, Editor
The Nahua Newsletter
30 Calvert Hall
St. Mary’s College
St. Mary’s City, MD 20686
Telephone: (301) 737-0042 (H)

If you have not filled out Items 2-5 in the past, or wish to update your entry in
the directory, please feel free to do so. The next issue will come out in February

AAA Meeting

The 87th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association will be held in
Phoenix, on November 16-20, 1988. Sessions of interest to Nahua specialists include the

Thursday Morning, November 17

8:00-10:45 Effects of Mesoamerican Polities in an Interactive Framework.

Organizers/Chairs: John Chance, Barbara L. Stark, Emily Umberger. Papers by: Gary M.
Feinman, Robert S. Stantley, Barbara L. Stark, Mary E. Miller, Emily Umberger, Ross
Hassig, John K. Chance. Discussants: Richard Blanton, Frank Salomon

Friday Morning, November 18

8:00-10:15 Encountering the Aztecs: Five Centuries of Nahua Culture, History and
Language–Part I (Society for Latin American Anthropology). Organizers: Louise M.
Burkhart and Alan R. Sandstrom. Chair: Alan R. Sandstrom. Papers by: Eloise
Quinones-Keber, Bon V. Davis II, Una Canger, Frances Karttunen, James M. Taggart, Kay
A. Read, H. B. Nicholson

9:00-11:30 Rural Life in Aztec-Period Morelos, Mexico. Organizer/Chair: Michael E.
Smith. Papers by: Michael E. Smith, Jerrel H. Sorensen, Cheryl A. Sutherland, Cynthia
Heath-Smith, T. Jeffrey Price, Osvaldo J. Sterpone, Scott O’Mack. Discussants: Kenneth
G. Hirth, Frances F. Berdan

Friday Afternoon, November 18

2:00-4:30 Encountering the Aztecs: Five Centuries of Nahua Culture, History and
Language–Part II. Organizers/Chairs: Louise M. Burkhart and Alan R. Sandstrom. Papers
by: Robert Haskett, Stephanie Wood, Louise Burkhart, Thomas L. Grigsby, Frances F.
Berdan, Susan M. Kellogg, Alan R. Sandstrom, Pedro Carrasco

2:00-4:15 XXVII Conference on American Indian Languages: California and Uto-Aztecan
Languages. Organizer: Louanna Furbee. Chair: Victor Golla. Papers by: James L.
Armagost, T. Givon, Karen Dakin, Geoffrey Gamble, Catherine A. Callaghan, Marianne
Mithum, Sandra A. Thompson, Margaret Langdon Additional information about the Meeting
can be found in September 1988’s Anthropology Newsletter.

Recent publications

1. J. Jorge Klor de Alva. H. B. Nicholson. and Eloise Ouiñones Keber, eds.
The Work of Bernardino de Sahagún: Pioneer Ethnographer of Sixteenth-Century
Aztec Mexico. IMS and University of Texas, 1988. (Available from UT Press; paperback,
372 pp., $25.00; from NEWTEXAS announcement: “A landmark collection of articles on the
work of. . . Sahagún, the most important missionary- ethnographer of the New
World and the widely recognized father of American anthropology. Articles by well-known
ethnohistorians, ethnographers, linguists, and art historians represent the most
up-to-date and comprehensive knowledge available on Sahagun’s role in the history of
anthropology and help in understanding his major writings on Aztec culture.”)

2. Jesus Monjaras-Ruiz. Elena Limón R., and Maria de la Cruz Pailles H.
(eds). Tlatelolco; Rival de Tenochtitlan: Obras de Robert H. Barlow. (Vol. 1),
INAH-UDLA. This book is about Tlatelolco’s history from 1325 to 1521, including two
epochs: Tlatelolco free and Tlatelolco subjected to Tenochtitlan. It was an unedited
work found in Barlow’s personal archive. Copies are available at $12 (.U.S.) from:

  • Elena Limon R. (Please send Postal or International Universidad de las
    Américas, Puebla Money Orders only)
  • Instituto de Estudios Avanzados (Postage and Handling included) Santa Catarina
    Mártir 72820, Apdo. Postal 100, Cholula, Pue. Mexico.

3. Sylvia Marcos. “Curing and Cosmology: The Challenges of Popular Medicines,”
Development: Seeds of Change 1987:1, 20-25.

4. Sylvia Marcos. “Women, Cosmology and Medicine: Mexican Healers.” (A paper in an
edited book to be published by the Colegio de Mexico.)


The study of traditional curing practices in Mexico is inseparable from the
cosmology in which they are rooted. The predominance of women in traditional Mexican
healing makes gender analysis pertinent as a dimension of therapeutic, spiritual, and
community powers.

We attempt to reinsert contemporary curing practices into the study of long term
movements and mentalities. These practices are rooted in a complex conceptual and
perceptual framework in which elements of the ancient Mesoamerican cosmology still

Methodologically, the study explores the possibilities of a systematic confrontation
of relevant primary and secondary sources with modern field studies on popular curative
practices in Mexico. We proceed from the hypothesis that there are certain kinds of
relationships between the underlying contemporary healing practices and ancient.
Mesoamerican cosmology.

We will approach rigorously and respectfully a cosmogony in which the feminine plays
a relevant role. In such a civilization the feminine presence permeates all levels:
sacred and profane, daily and ritual, family and macrosocial. We assert that the
experience of being a woman in such a society is profoundly different.

The feminine areas of action and power reviewed in this study are those of a
symbolic and religious order set in the context of the Mesoamerican pantheon and found
in the practice of an essential social function: medicine.

In an effort to hear the female voice, the voice of the curers, we have gathered
their definitions of their work and their self-perceptions in order to understand how
they view their medical commitment. Interviews were carried out, life histories
collected, and various monographs were consulted. The study approaches the curing and
personal experiences of these medicine women, who are revealed as authority figures,
and places their curing practice in the rich framework of Mesoamerican cosmology.



Fellowships: Dumbarton Oaks offers residential fellowships in the three areas of
Byzantine studies (including related aspects of late Roman, early Christian, western
medieval, Slavic, and Near Eastern studies), Pre-Columbian studies (of Mexico, Central
America, and Andean South America), and studies in Landscape Architecture.

1. Junior Fellowships: for students who at the time of application have fulfilled
all preliminary requirements for a Ph.D. (or appropriate final degree) and will be
working on a dissertation or final project at Dumbarton Oaks under the direction of a
faculty member at their own university. In exceptional cases applications may be
accepted from students before they have fulfilled preliminary requirements.

2. Fellowships: for scholars who hold a doctorate (or appropriate final degree) or
have established themselves in their field and wish to pursue their own research.
Applications will also be accepted from graduate students who expect to have the Ph.D.
in hand prior to taking up residence at Dumbarton Oaks. NB. Successful applicants will
revert to the status and stipend of Junior Fellows if the degree has not been

3. Summer Fellowships: for scholars (on any level of advancement) who are not
incumbent fellows.

Fellowships are not renewable, but consideration will be given to applications for an
academic year and a summer, or, in exceptional cases, two successive years (two annual
fellowships, and possibly an intervening summer fellowship). Reappointments of former
fellows are not normally made before five years have elapsed since the tenure of the
previous fellowship. This restriction does not apply to former Summer Fellows
requesting regular fellowships, or former Junior Fellows and Fellows requesting summer

All fellows are expected to be able to communicate satisfactorily in English.

(See separate flyer for non-residential fellowships in Byzantine Studies.)


Dumbarton Oaks also makes grants to assist with scholarly projects in the three
fields with which it is concerned. These may cover modest expenses for photography,
supplies, special services, and sometimes travel-although Dumbarton Oaks does not make
travel grants as such. Nor are grants made for work associated with a degree or library
research. Before applying, prospective applicants should make a preliminary inquiry no
later than November 1 of the appropriate Director of Studies to determine if their
project is within the purview of Dumbarton Oaks. If so, they will be sent the
application procedure. Applications complete in 10 copies must be postmarked no later
than November 15. N.B. Awards are made for projects conducted in the fiscal year
beginning July 1, 1989. See reverse side for terms of fellowships and procedures for

The deadline for submission of applications for all awards is November 15. Awards will
be announced in mid-February, and must be accepted by March 1.

Items of Interest

1. Frances Karttunen (University of Texas-Austin), wrote in a letter dated May 17,
1988: “Here is a preliminary announcement of an NEH Summer Institute for College and
University Teachers that will be held in UT-Austin in 1989. Do tell friends and
colleagues about it. The NEH is very concerned that we attract applications from broad
spectrum of scholars/teachers–not just from linguists. [For example,] we hope for
applications from people in Mexican-American studies, [as well as] medievalists, though
I certainly don’t think of the sixteenth-century as the Middle Ages. In sum,
applications are welcome from every quarter, though NEH eligibility does require that
applicants be teachers at US universities and colleges (including 2-year community

With respect to the following announcement, please note that “Miguel Leon-Portilla
has since been asked by President Salinas to remain at his post as Mexico’s ambassador
to UNESCO in Paris. His place at the institute will be taken by Louise Burkhart and J.
Richard Andrews as guest faculty along with Dennis Tedlock for the Translation Track.
We are currently printing posters and application forms, which we will mail out soon.
The deadline for receipt of applications will be February 15, 1989, and applicants will
be notified of decisions in March.

Announcing an NEH Summer Institute for College and University Teachers:



This institute will take place at the Institute of Latin Studies at the University
of Texas at Austin early in the summer of 1989, will last 6 weeks, and is open to
forty-five teachers at US universities and colleges (including community colleges). The
purpose of the institute is to provide teachers with new material for innovative
curriculum development appropriate to the 1992 Columbian Quincentennial Commemoration.
Teachers of Latin American history and literature, precolumbian art, social history,
and anthropology are especially invited to apply. No linguistic training is required.
Knowledge of Spanish is useful but not absolutely essential. Most of the literature
will be available in English translation.

There will be three tracks scheduled so that participants may attend any combination
of track activities.

Track 1: Nahuatl language

This track will combine a course in the fundamentals of Nahuatl grammar taught by
Frances Karttunen, author of An Analytical Dictionary of Nahuatl, with daily sessions
with a speaker of Nahuatl conducted by R. Joe Cambell, author of A Morphological
Dictionary of Classical Nahuatl.

Track 2: Indigenous literatures of Mesoamerica and the Andes.

The Mesoamerican half of this track will deal with the written literature of Nahuatl
and several of the Mayan languages and will be taught by Frances Karttunen. The Andean
half will be taught by Margot Beyersdorff of the University of Texas Department of
Spanish and Portuguese, who is a veteran translator of Quechua literature. ”

Track 3: Translation of indigenous literature of Latin America.

During the first two weeks of this track, Fritz Hensey, a member of the University
of Texas Department of Spanish and Portuguese and a specialist in translation, will
deal with translation theory. Following this Miguel León-Portilla and Dennis
Tedlock, both distinguished translators of Mesoamerican literature, will lecture on the
specific problems of such translation. The final week of this track will host a
symposium of translators of Mesoamerican and Andean literature.

Throughout the six weeks there will be evening lectures by local and visiting

For additional information and application material available after September 1,
please contact:

Frances Karttunen, Director
Summer Institute ’89
Institute of Latin American Studies
Sid Richardson Hall 1.311
University of Texas, Austin
Austin, TX 78712

2. J. Jorge Klor de Alva notes that the Institute for Mesoamerican Studies (SUNY-
Albany) with the National Quincentenary Commissions of Spain and Mexico, the Government
of Extremadura, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation, hosted the first of three conferences
of their research and publication project titled: IN WORD AND DEED: INTERETHNIC
held at SUNY-Albany, October 9-14, 1988. Twenty-four scholars from Europe, Latin
America, and the U.S. presented papers on the theme “Civilization and Barbarism:
Reciprocal Images.” For more information write: J. Jorge Klor de Alva, Director:
Institute for Mesoamerican Studies, SS263, State University of New York-Albany; Albany,
NY 12222 (phone: (518) 442-4891 or 489-5806).

3. Carlos Sandoval Linares described in a note to the editor the aims, activities,
and work strategies of the Instituto Cultural Cabanas in Guadalajara. He and other
members of the Instituto investigate, conserve, and diffuse the cultural heritage of
Mexico using images from prehispanic codices. They published many articles about Aztec
culture and two coloring books (“Animals” and “Tlacuilocatzintli”–child painter) for
children. In addition, they have organized a didactic exposition which traveled through
the Guadalajara metropolitan area; they promote Mexican music, and they teach the
Nahuatl language. In the recent Tlahcuilo (the painter) workshop, they studied
published materials on Nahuatl pictographic writing.

The activities of the Instituto have created considerable public interest in
Guadalajara. Their efforts are supported by the state government, the city councils of
Zapopan, Guadalajara, Tlaquepaque and Tonala, local Nahua language and philosophy study
groups, musical groups, and other private organizations. The expansion of the
Institute’s activities was achieved in part by the support of the local radio and

4. J. F. Schwaller (Florida Atlantic University) wrote a letter to the editor, dated
July 18, 1988, which says in part: “Recently, several of us Nahuatl scholars, at the
behest of Dr. Miguel León-Portilla, met in Paris for three days to begin an
international program to catalogue all Nahuatl manuscripts in the world, and to
implement a program of rescue on the endangered ones. As the .final working papers of
the meeting come available, I will send them on to you to help inform other scholars in
the field.”

“I would also like to report that a separate publication of the Three Guides to
Nahuatl Manuscripts has been recently issued by UNAM in Mexico. I have several extra
copies and would be glad to share them with any scholars who are interested.”

5. Sylvia Marcos (Centro de Investigaciones Psicoetnologicas-Cuernavaca) wrote

INAH’s Department of Ethnology and Social Anthropology organized a series of
meetings in the Spring of 1988 for scholars interested in medical anthropology. The
schedule of the meetings, the names of the participants and their institutional
affiliations are reprinted below.






Tema: El estudio de la diarrea infantil en México.

Fecha: Jueves 28 de abril, 11:00 hs.


Dr. Luis Vargas, Instituto de Investigaciones Antropológicas UNAM.

Dr. Leticia Casillas

Dr. Alberta Isunza, Instituto Nacional de Nutrición

Dr. Homero Martínez, Instituto Nacional de Nutrición


Tema: Proyectos de rescate y animación de la medicina en medias

Fecha: Jueves 26 de Mayo, 11:00 hs.


Dr. Paul Hersch Centra Regional de Morelos INAH

Dr. Enrique Cifuentes Instituto Nacional de Nutrición

Biól. Salvador Morelos Ochoa SEDUE



Tema: Medicina Tradicional y plantas medicinales

Fecha: Jueves 30 de Junio, 11:00 hs.


Biól. Arturo Argueta, Las plantas medicinales en la región

Biól. Edelmira Linares, Jardín Botánico UNAM

Usos pasados y presentes de algunas plantas medicinales y su mercado en

Hist. Elsa Malvido y Biól. Silvia del Amo. Depto. De Estudios
Históricos del INAH.

Las plantas medicinales y su uso en el siglo XIX.

Dr. Carlos Zolla y Dra. Virginia Mellado, Unidad de Investigación en Medicinas
tradicionales y desarrollo de medicamentos IMSS.

Enfermedades y plantas medicinales on 3025 pueblos de México


Tema: Enfermedades Tradicionales

Fecha: Jueves 28 de Julio, 11:00 hs.


Dr. Alberto Guerrero, Centro Regional de Morelos INAH

Etnosiquiatría: Mal de Ojo y Susto.

Antrop. Yolanda Sasoon, (Depto de Museos y Exposiciones INAH)

El susto y el mal aire.

Biólogo Abigaíl Aguilar Contreras y Biól. Juan Raúl Camacho

El susto y la Etnobotánica

Dr. Carlos Zolla y Dra. Virginia Mellado, (Unidad de Investigación en
Medicinas tradicionales y desarrollo de medicamentos IMSS)

Cinco enfermedades tradicionales


Tema: La medicina tradicional y las mujeres.

Fecha: Jueves 25 de Agosto, 11:00 hs.


Pslgo. Sylvia Marcos, Colegio de Mexico “Las curanderas de Mexico: mujeres, cosmovision
y medicina.

Antrop. Noemí Quezada, Instituto de Investigaciones Antropologicas UNAM.
“Concepción y contracepción en la Medicina Tradicional en Mexico.

Dr. Carlos Zolla y Dra. Virginia Mellado, Campos Embarazo y parto en el mundo (IMSS)
rural. Audiovisual

Lugar: Sala de Juntas del Departamento de Etnología y Antropología Social
del INAH.

Exconvento del Carmen, Av. Revolución #4 San Angel. Mexico 20, D.F.

Directory updates

Editor’s note: For privacy reasons, Directory mailing lists are only provided on the print version. If you have any questions, please contact the editor.

Institutional subscribers

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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