Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Week 2: Expansion and Encounter

Essential Reading rainbow

  • Ilona Katzew (ed.), Contested Visions in the Spanish Colonial World (Los Angeles, 2011). Chapter 3: Diana Magaloni Kerpel, History Under the Rainbow: The Conquest of Mexico in the Florentine Codex, pp.79-95
  • Serge Gruzinski, Painting the Conquest: the Mexican Indians and the European Renaissance (Paris, 1992). Chapter 1, pp. 27-53.

Primary Sources:

  • Miguel de Leon Portilla, The Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico (Boston, 2006), pp. XIV-XXI, 50-52 and 62-69
  • Stuart B. Schwartz, (ed.), Victors and Vanquished: Spanish and Nahua Views of the Conquest of Mexico (Boston/New York: Bedford/St. Martins, 2000), Ch. 3: 'Encounters', pp. 79-99
  • Hernán Cortés, Anthony Pagden, ed., Letters from Mexico (1991).
Seminar Questions
  • How can surviving images and objects inform our understanding of the encounter between Europe and the New World?
  • Consider the Florentine Codex as a historical source (who, how, and under what circumstances it was created). Does it provide us with an indigenous perspective on the experience of encounter and conquest, a ‘vision of the vanquished’?
  • What roles could images and objects play in the encounter between cultures?
  • Consider native and European accounts/images of first encounters, war, and conquest. What can they reveal in relation to existing material cultures in Iberia and the Americas, and the differences between these? How did Spaniards and Native Americas interpret these differences?
Further Reading


  • Stephanie Wood, Transcending Conquest: Nahua Views of Spanish Colonial Mexico (Norman, 2003). Chapter 2: Pictorial Images of Spaniards, pp. 23-59
  • Suzanne P. Blier, "Imaging Otherness in Ivory: African Portrayals of the Portuguese ca. 1492," Art Bulletin75: 3 (September 1993)
  • Elizabeth Hill Boone, ‘Seeking Indianness: Christoph Weiditz, the Aztecs, and feathered Amerindians,’ Colonial Latin American Review26: 1 (2017), pp. 39-61
  • Cecilia F. Klein, “Before the Conquest: Contested Visions in Aztec and Inca Art,’ in Ilona Katzew (ed.), Contested Visions in the Spanish Colonial World(Los Angeles, 2011).
  • Ralph Bauer and Marcy Norton, ‘Entangled Trajectories: Indigenous and European Histories, Colonial Latin American Review26, no. 1 (2017), pp. 1-17
  • James Lockhart, Of Things of the Indies(Stanford, 1999). Chapter 7: A Double Tradition: Editing Book Twelve of the Florentine Codex, and 8: Three Experiences of Culture Contact: Nahua, Maya, and Quechua.
  • Anna Jackson and Amin Jaffer (eds.), Encounters: The Meeting of Europe and Asia 1500-1800(London: V&A Publications, 2004)
  • Mercedes Maroto Camino, Producing the Pacific: Maps and Narratives of Spanish Exploration (1567-1606). Chapter 3: Mapping the Pacific
  • Jill Lepore, Encounters in the New World, A History in Documents (Oxford, 2002).