Converting Words

Converting Words : Maya in the Age of the Cross

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This pathbreaking synthesis of history, anthropology, and linguistics gives an unprecedented view of the first two hundred years of the Spanish colonization of the Yucatec Maya. Drawing on an extraordinary range and depth of sources, William F. Hanks documents for the first time the crucial role played by language in cultural conquest: how colonial Mayan emerged in the age of the cross, how it was taken up by native writers to become the language of indigenous literature, and how it ultimately became the language of rebellion against the system that produced it. "Converting Words" includes original analyses of the linguistic practices of both missionaries and Mayas - as found in bilingual dictionaries, grammars, catechisms, land documents, native chronicles, petitions, and the forbidden "Maya Books of Chilam Balam". Lucidly written and vividly detailed, this important work presents a new approach to the study of religious and cultural conversion that will illuminate the history of Latin America and beyond, and will be essential reading across disciplinary more

Product details

  • Paperback | 484 pages
  • 152 x 224 x 32mm | 680.39g
  • University of California Press
  • Berkerley, United States
  • English
  • 16 b/w photographs, 2 line illustrations, 17 maps, 25 tables, 41 examples
  • 0520257715
  • 9780520257719
  • 1,044,912

Review quote

"Anthropologist William Hanks has given us a remarkable piece of scholarly work..." Missiology "This book is a true landmark." -- Frauke Sachse Anthropos Redaktionshow more

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A true benchmark. This work will set a new standard for the conceptualizationlet alone the studyof missionization and religious conversion, colonial language policy, and language-oriented social history. Hanks provides a framework for thinking about language history that integrates language ideology, linguistic form (from phonology to speech genres), social organization, and the phenomenology of experience that goes so far beyond traditional historical, linguistic, or philological perspectives as to constitute a new paradigm for the field. Converting Words will be a classic work that will stimulate others to emulate Hanks's powerful scholarly example. The field will never be the same after this book appears. Richard Bauman, author of A World of Others' Words: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Intertextuality Hanks's work is utterly original and unprecedented... I don't think historians of the Mesoamerican colonial regimes should write anything until they read this book; it's that important. Jane H. Hill, author of A Grammar of Cupeno"show more

About William F. Hanks

William F. Hanks is Professor of Anthropology, Berkeley Distinguished Chair in Linguistic Anthropology, and Affiliated Professor of Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley. He is author of Language and Communicative Practice and Referential Practice: Language and Lived Space among the Maya, among other more

Table of contents

List of Illustrations List of Tables Preface Acknowledgments 1. Introduction: The Field of Discourse Production The Making of a Translanguage * The Body as Totality * A Shifting Voice for Indian Authors Part I. The Scope of Reduccion 2. Perpetual Reduccion in a Land of Frontiers Notes on the Political Geography of Post-Mayapan Yucatan * Lopez Medel and the Spirit of the Laws * Reduccion in a Regional Perspective * A Land of Frontiers 3. To Make Themselves New Men Governance of the Guardiania * Disciplining the Senses * Bishop Toral's Vision * Cogolludo's Landscape * Guardiania and Cofradia * Cabildos in the Mission Towns Part II. Converting Words 4. From Field to Genre and Habitus Metalinguistic Labeling * Production Format and Author Position * I ndexical Centering in the Deictic Field * Stylistic Differentiation of Genres * Multimodality: Speech, Animation, Inscription * Iteration 5. First Words: From Spanish into Maya Dictionaries and the Problem of Authorship * The Thematic Scope of the Dictionaries * From Spanish into Maya * First Principles * R eligious Practices * Pedagogy * Language and Signs * G overnance * Marginal Practices 6. Commensuration: Maya as a Matrix Language Commensuration and Translingual Meaning * Fray Antonio de Ciudad Real, Exemplary Lengua 7. The Grammar of Reduccion and the Art of Speaking What Is an Arte? * The Shadow of Nebrija * Fray Juan Coronel, Arte en lengua de maya (1620) * G abriel de San Buenaventura, Arte de la lengua maya (1684) * Fray Pedro Beltran de Santa Rosa Maria, Arte de el Idioma Maya (1746) * Missionary Linguistics as a Hybrid System 8. The Canonical Word The Maya Doctrinas * What Is a Doctrina Menor? praying in maya / doctrinal dialogues / sermons Part III. Into the Breach: The Dispersion of Maya reducido 9. The Scripted Landscape What Is a Notarial Document? * L andscape as Text * Early Chronicles * The Titles of Ebtun * Bills of Sale 10. Petitions as Prayers in the Field of Reduccion Letters of the Caciques to the Crown, February 11, 1567 * L etter of the Batabs to the Crown, March 19, 1567 * Petition from Dzaptun, July 20, 1605 * Petitions from Numkini and Xecelchakan, November 1669 11. Cross Talk in the Books of Chilam Balam Doctrinal Language in the Books of Chilam Balam * True God Comes to Yucatan * The Sadness of the Christians * The Words of the Prophet Epilogue: Full Circle Notes References Cited Indexshow more