How to Make a New Spain The Material Worlds of Colonial Mexico City

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How to Make a New Spain The Material Worlds of Colonial Mexico City by Rodríguez-Alegría, Enrique, 9780197682296
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  • ISBN: 9780197682296 | 0197682294
  • Cover: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 3/15/2023

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How to Make a New Spain presents an unprecedented view of the material worlds of Mexico City in the sixteenth century, drawing from a combination of sources and methodologies. It presents the author's original analysis of over 11,000 items in the probate inventories of thirty-nine Spanish colonizers. It also synthesizes information from archaeological excavations of Spanish houses at the center of Mexico City.

The book begins with a critique of theories of materiality, in which scholars emphasize the agency of things at the expense of an investigation of social relationships. Rodríguez-Alegría argues that now that scholars have shown that the descendants of the Mexica (often known as the Aztecs) maintained social and political power in the colonial period, we should reexamine how Indigenous people, colonizers, and Black people together created the material and social worlds of colonial Mexico. The book assimilates information on architecture, money, clothing, furniture, pottery, slaves, livestock, and tools to provide a new vision of daily life in colonial Mexico City. It shows that colonialism was based on the recognition of people of similar classes across ethnic boundaries, and on the forging of relationships with powerful Indigenous people. Even colonizers who sought to display distinction from Indigenous people with their material culture depended on Indigenous products and technology
to achieve that distinction. The complex history of materiality and power that emerges from this book compels us to reimagine colonial Mexico and the people who created it.
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