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Disciplining Children in the Codex Mendoza

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Aztec children were valued creations. Language used in rituals compared infants to precious stones and feathers, flakes of stone, ornaments, or sprouts of plants. The duty of parents and society, however was not to indulge but to socialize the child, so that they would not become "fruitless trees," as an Aztec proverb stated. According to sources written shortly after the Spanish conquest,... Read More »

Discussion of Citizenship under the Proposed New Constitution (29 April 1793)

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In the discussion of a new constitution in April 1793, Jean–Denis Lanjuinais spoke for the constitutional committee. He admitted that the question of women’s rights had aroused controversy.

Discussion of Women’s Political Clubs and Their Suppression, 29–30 October 1793

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On 29 October 1793, a group of women appeared in the National Convention to complain that female militants had tried to force them to wear the red cap of liberty as a sign of their adherence to the Revolution, but they also presented a petition demanding the suppression of the women’s club behind these actions. Their appearance provided the occasion for a discussion of women’s political... Read More »

Discussion of Women’s Political Clubs—Amar

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In a follow–up to Fabre d’Eglantine’s speech on 29 October, Jean–Baptiste Amar proposed an official decree on 3 October forbidding women to join together in political associations. A deputy tried to argue that this notion ran contrary to the right of freedom of association, but he was shouted down by the other deputies.

Dona Marina, Cortes' Translator: Letter, Hernán Cortés

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This excerpt from Cortés’s Second Letter, written to Charles V in 1519 and first published in 1522, is one of only two instances in Cortés’s letters to the King that explicitly mentions his indigenous translator. The letters represent eyewitness accounts of the conquistadors’ deeds and experiences. In spite of the close relationship between Cortés and doña Marina, his comments are terse and... Read More »

Dona Marina, Cortes’ Translator: Nonfiction, Florentine Codex (Nahuatl)

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This chapter from the Florentine Codex, a bilingual encyclopedia of central Mexican life and history, was created by the Franciscan friar, Bernardino de Sahagún and indigenous advisors, painters and scribes. Nahuatl and Spanish texts appear side by side, and are accompanied by an image of Malintzin translating. The Nahuatl version of this text describes indigenous objects, words, and emotions... Read More »

Dona Marina, Cortes’ Translator: Nonfiction, Florentine Codex (Spanish)

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This chapter from the Florentine Codex, a bilingual encyclopedia of central Mexican life and history was created by the Franciscan friar, Bernardino de Sahagún and indigenous advisors, painters and scribes. Nahuatl and Spanish texts appear side by side, and are accompanied by the image of Malintzin translating (described above). The Spanish text represents Sahagún’s translation of the Nahuatl... Read More »

Dona Marina, Cortes’ Translator: Personal Account, Bernal Díaz del Castillo

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Perhaps the most famous 16th-century portrayal of doña Marina, this description is also the most extensive from the period. Díaz del Castillo claims she was beautiful and intelligent, she could speak Nahuatl and Maya. Without doña Marina, he says, the Spaniards could not have understood the language of Mexico. These words, while evocative, were written decades after Díaz del Castillo marched... Read More »

Dona Marina, Cortes’ Translator: Poem, Como Duele, 1993, Women in World History

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One of the earliest meditations on Malinche and her meaning published by a Chicana in the United States. This narrative explores Malinche’s fate and her abilities to negotiate difficult and competing cultural demands. It also grapples with the violence of colonization—in history, in Mexico and in the United States. The history it evokes is the intertwined history of indigenous and Chicana... Read More »

Dona Marina, Cortes’ Translator: Poem, La Malinche

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A well-known Chicana poem about Malinche. Tafolla took inspiration from the famous 1967 poem of the Chicano movement, “Yo Soy Joaquín,” but rewrites from an explicitly feminist perspective. The poem addresses the scene of European colonization, charting Malinche’s fate—as conquered woman, traitor, invincible survivor. Tafolla heightens the tension between traitor and survivor, raped slave and... Read More »

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