My book Memories of Conquest, winner of the 2013 Howard F. Cline Memorial Prize, tells the story of thousands of Nahuas and Oaxacans who invaded Guatemala alongside the Spanish in the 1520s. Some remained in Central America as colonists, creating an exalted position for themselves as both “Indians” and “conquistadors.” In Ciudad Vieja, Guatemala, the deeply Mesoamerican memories of these native allies were reinforced by European creole versions of the conquest.
As it turned out, other scholars were exploring similar cases throughout the region. Hence the edited volume I did with Michel Oudijk in 2007, Indian Conquistadors, which calls for a deeper consideration of why and how Mesoamericans joined the conquest wars against their own apparent interests.
My current research looks at the circulation of goods and people along the Pacific Coast of Oaxaca, Guatemala, and El Salvador from the fifteenth to the early seventeenth centuries. I also continue to work on the historical trajectories of various types of Nahuatl in colonial Guatemala.
In addition to generous support from Marquette, I have received grants and fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies; the American Philosophical Society; the Newberry Library (Mellon Long Term Fellowship); the U.S. Department of Education (Fulbright-Hays); and the Research Institute for the Study of Man.
Hat tip to Rudy Girón at antiguadailyphoto.com for the picture of the card catalog at the Fundación Cultural Duane Carter Library in Antigua, Guatemala, above. Many of these card catalogs are still in service, including at the Archivo General de Centroamérica (about which more here). I’m quite fond of them.