Nahua Writing at a Moment of Crisis: Domingo Chimalpahin’s Preservation of the Cemanahuac Archive in Colonial Mexico


ACLS Fellowship Program


Romance Languages


"Nahua Writing at a Moment of Crisis" examines the writings of don Domingo de San Antón Muñón Chimalpahin Quauhtlehuanitzin (hereafter Chimalpahin), a Nahua "tlacuilo" (scribe) who produced the largest body of written texts in Nahuatl and Spanish among Nahua writers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It traces an Indigenous intellectual project that diverges from that of European authors who sought to appropriate native history to legitimize themselves as the rightful rulers of the land. "Nahua Writing at a Moment of Crisis" argues that Chimalpahin’s oeuvre reveals a unique Indigenous intellectual project, written in Nahuatl for Nahua reader of the future. And it shows that Chimalpahin’s project safeguarded the Indigenous history of Cemanahuac—the Indigenous world as seen by the Nahuas.