JCB Fellow's Talk: Cynthia Radding

July 11, 2018 - 4:00pm

Cynthia Radding (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) Center for New World Comparative Studies Fellow

"Indigenous Landscapes and Colonial Boundaries: Reading Nature into Colonial Archives"

This presentation integrates the production of cultural landscapes with the practices of indigenous peoples, the values they ascribed to the land itself, and the organization of labor that sustained communities and mixed agrarian economies in the arid lands of northwestern Mexico. Indigenous perceptions of their environment were rooted in the landscapes they had created in the course of pursuing subsistence strategies for centuries before European contact, which they adapted to the exigencies and the opportunities of the colonial economy. Indigenous peoples were not explicitly “environmentalists” in their world view. Nevertheless, their territorial defense was based on holistic practices of land use that included floodplains, coastal estuaries, and the monte of forests and grasslands. Reconstructing their environmental history becomes an adventure in cross-disciplinary reading of archival documents, maps, and the wealth of early modern published literature.

The Reading Room will close to researchers at 3:30pm.