Bountiful Deserts and Imperial Shadows. Seeds of Knowledge and Corridors of Migration in Northern New Spain


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project focuses on the ecological and cultural histories of northern Mexico and southwestern United States, integrating methods of analysis from the sciences and the humanities. It opens new directions for the study of imperial borderlands in the Americas and other world regions, combining methods and sources for environmental history and ethnohistory. The book addresses three main questions: (1) How did native peoples shape their environments and how did the molding of landscapes continue under colonial rule with new technologies, cultural values, and economies? (2) How did the formation of colonial territories change native kinship patterns and alliances? (3) How did indigenous cultural practices involving natural resources become scientific knowledge, and how did that knowledge enter European natural histories and medicinal manuals? This project integrates information culled from texts, maps, images, and documentary records to broaden the histories of both nature and society in the borderlands of early modern New Spain.