A READING AND BOOK SIGNING WITH MIRIAM MELTON-VILLANUEVA, AUTHOR OF THE AZTECS AT INDEPENDENCE
Nahuatl-speaking women and men left last wills in their own tongue during an era when the written tradition of their language was generally assumed to have ended. Describing their world in testaments clustered around epidemic cycles, they responded to profound changes in population, land use and local governance with astonishing vibrancy.
The Aztecs at Independence: Nahua Culture Makers in Central Mexico, 1799-1832 offers the first internal ethnographic view of these central Mexican indigenous communities in the critical transitional time of Independence. The book uses previously unknown, unstudied and untranslated indigenous texts to bring Nahua society into history, fleshing out glimpses of daily life in early nineteenth century.
Miriam Melton-Villanueva is an assistant professor in the Department of History at UNLV. She was a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles.