Writing Without Words: Alternative Literacies in Mesoamerica and the Andes / Edition 1

Writing Without Words: Alternative Literacies in Mesoamerica and the Andes / Edition 1

by Elizabeth Hill Boone
     
 

ISBN-10: 082231388X

ISBN-13: 9780822313885

Pub. Date: 05/16/1994

Publisher: Duke University Press Books

The history of writing, or so the standard story goes, is an ascending process, evolving toward the alphabet and finally culminating in the "full writing" of recorded speech. Writing without Words challenges this orthodoxy, and with it widespread notions of literacy and dominant views of art and literature, history and geography. Asking how

Overview

The history of writing, or so the standard story goes, is an ascending process, evolving toward the alphabet and finally culminating in the "full writing" of recorded speech. Writing without Words challenges this orthodoxy, and with it widespread notions of literacy and dominant views of art and literature, history and geography. Asking how knowledge was encoded and preserved in Pre-Columbian and early colonial Mesoamerican cultures, the authors focus on systems of writing that did not strive to represent speech. Their work reveals the complicity of ideology in the history of literacy, and offers new insight into the history of writing.
The contributors—who include art historians, anthropologists, and literary theorists—examine the ways in which ancient Mesoamerican and Andean peoples conveyed meaning through hieroglyphic, pictorial, and coded systems, systems inseparable from the ideologies they were developed to serve. We see, then, how these systems changed with the European invasion, and how uniquely colonial writing systems came to embody the post-conquest American ideologies. The authors also explore the role of these early systems in religious discourse and their relation to later colonial writing.
Bringing the insights from Mesoamerica and the Andes to bear on a fundamental exchange among art history, literary theory, semiotics, and anthropology, the volume reveals the power contained in the medium of writing.

Contributors. Elizabeth Hill Boone, Tom Cummins, Stephen Houston, Mark B. King, Dana Leibsohn, Walter D. Mignolo, John Monaghan, John M. D. Pohl, Joanne Rappaport, Peter van der Loo

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822313885
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
05/16/1994
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments vii

Introduction: Writing and Recording Knowledge / Elizabeth Hill Boone 3

Literacy among the Pre-Columbian Maya: A Comparative / Stephen Houston 27

Aztec Pictorial Histories: Records without Words / Elizabeth Hill Boone 50

Voicing the Painted Image: A Suggestion for Reading the Reverse of the Codez Cospi / Peter L. van der Loo 77

The Text in the Body, the Body in the Text: The Embodied Sign in Mixtec Writing / John Monaghan 87

Hearing the Echoes of Verbal Art in Mixtec Writing / Mark B. King 102

Mexican Codices, Maps and Lienzos as Social Contracts / John M. D. Pohl 137

Primers for Memory: Cartographic Histories and Nahua Identity / Dana Leibsohn 161

Representation in the Sixteenth Century and the Colonial Image of the Inca / Tom Cummins 188

Signs and Their Transmission: The Question of the Book in the New World / Walter D. Mignolo 220

Object and Alphabet: Andean Indians and Documents in the Colonial Period / Joanne Rappaport 271

Afterword: Writing and Recorded Knowledge in Colonial and Postcolonial Situations / Walter D. Mignolo 292

Index 313

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