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History Workshop: “The Other Juan and the Cult of Castillanxochitl: Rose Rituals, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and How to Die in Sixteenth-Century New Spain”

Josh Fitzgerald, History
Friday, May 19, 10:00-11:30 am,
McKenzie 375
Light refreshments will be served.

What can a barebones list of the dead from the sixteenth century tell us about colonial education and the practice of indigenous Christianity under Spain? Surprisingly, a lot, especially when we study the dead within their local and regional context. For his work-in-progress talk, PhD candidate Josh Fitzgerald presents his research on the Difuntos (death records) of Huejotzingo, early-colonial Nahuatl documents from New Spain. Registries of the dead are often culled for statistical data, but Fitzgerald’s investigation of a simple naming convention, the use of the Spanish-Nahuatl combined term Castillanxochitl (“Spanish Flower,” commonly “Rose”) uncovers the cultural significance of roses, death, local religiosity, and the astonishing link between Huejotzingo’s dead and the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico’s patron saint. The talk will cover portions of his dissertation “Unholy Pedagogy: Local Knowledge, Indigenous Intermediaries, and the Lessons from the Colonial Learningcscape,” but the core evidence will be part of a standalone article planned to be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal.