The Wired Humanities Projects group has done extensive work on early Mesoamerica, due in large part to the involvement of a scholar with a strong research agenda and a blossoming interest in digital humanities over the past decade. Our Mesoamerican research involves the collaboration of colleagues from all over the globe, and many researchers and teachers consult our online collections, dictionaries, and our finding aid daily.
Only in Mesoamerica, nowhere else in the Americas, will you find thousands of manuscripts written in indigenous languages (especially Nahuatl) and painted by native artists from the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries. This unparalleled record of human interest and activity, within the context of Spanish colonialism, makes the study of Mesoamerican ethnohistory, or the analysis of sources authored by indigenous people and about their lives, so compelling. For centuries, scholars thought they only had Spanish-language sources and a few dozen “codices.” But through archival research and field work, we are uncovering huge numbers of additional pictorial and textual manuscripts and are making progress in their decipherment, learning much more about the consequences of trans-Atlantic contact, conquest, and colonization, but also dramatic evidence of self-determination and cultural preservation, all from new perspectives.
Mapas Project (Colonial Mexican Pictorial Manuscript Facsimiles)
The Mapas Project has as its focus colonial Mexican pictorial manuscripts with annotation of image details, transcriptions, and translations of texts. The results of this thorough analysis and review by leading experts of each manuscript study, are inserted into an online searchable database for close study and comparability across manuscripts.
The Mapas Project received major funding in the form of a two-year Collaborative Research Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to digitize four manuscripts in the Kislak Collection (largely housed at the Library of Congress). Work on the Kislak manuscripts allowed us to refine our major online tool for collaboration – the Distance Research Environment – and allowed us create a model that works for any number of manuscripts.
A collection of pictorial Mesoamerican manuscripts in the indigenous tradition offered in facsimile on line without subscription, the Mapas Project is currently undergoing a major expansion, with manuscripts from different cultural traditions and time periods, pulling in many more collaborating scholars nationally and internationally.
The Nahuatl Dictionary, a searchable, online database, has interfaces in Nahuatl, Spanish, and English and advanced searching for ethnohistorians and linguists. In part, it is the first ever Nahuatl to Nahuatl dictionary. The dictionary will continue to be under construction through at least June 2013. This project has had funding for three years from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation, and we are currently in a fourth year with a no-cost extension. This project represents a collaboration between Sullivan’s Instituto de Docencia e Investigación Etnológica de Zacatecas (IDIEZ) and its affiliated US non-profit. Macehualli Educational Research. Stephanie Wood and John Sullivan, Co-Editors. We invite collaboration. For a brief news piece on this dictionary, see, KEZI TV news from October 13, 2009.
This searchable, online database which will have interfaces in Mixtec, Spanish, and English. This dictionary project, while accessible already, is still under construction.
Collaborators include the interns Katy Schuff and Michael Arellano and native speakers affiliated with Roberto Santos and the Centro Cultural Mixteco in Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca, Mexico, such as Araceli Ortiz. The dictionary benefits greatly from the research of Maarten Jansen, Ronald Spores, and Kevin Terraciano. We invite further collaboration.
Additional Indigenous Language Dictionaries
Please see our Indigenous Language Dictionaries page. We have dictionaries of Mayan, P’urhépecha, and Zapotec under construction. These are accessible to the public, but please bear in mind that we are only working with volunteer staff, so their expansion will take time. Kaitlan Smith, a former intern, led the Mayan language project and Itziri Moreno Villamar, another former intern and a UO Linguistics graduate, led the P’urhépecha language projects. Davíd Ruiz-Maya is currently working on the Zapotec project. We invite additional collaborators.
Virtual Mesoamerican Archive (VMA)
The VMA is a finding aid for quality materials on line. The six interrelated databases that comprise the VMA allow the user to find free, full-text articles and websites authored by scholars; biographical information about those scholars; information about repositories, whether museums, galleries, archives, or libraries; photographs of three-dimensional objects, manuscripts, and archaeological sites; or teaching materials. Ariel Vaughn, a former staff member, contributed endless hours to helping build this resource. Many other students have contributed as well. We would welcome additional volunteers for expanding and updating this finding aid.
Early Nahuatl Library (ENL)
ENL (formerly called the Early Nahuatl Virtual Library Project) is a digital collection of facsimiles of colonial textual manuscripts in Nahuatl, with transcriptions and translations. The long-range goal is to use our Distance Research Environment to facilitate the edition of these manuscripts and insert the texts into an online searchable database for search and retrieval of particular strings. Contributors include former students of James Lockhart and former members of the Luis Reyes García Nahuatl seminar in Tlaxcala. We also hope to clone this resource and use it to build similar resources for textual manuscripts in other Mesoamerican indigenous languages. Collaboration is welcomed!
An online collection of materials assembled for use in teaching gender in history, with six units relating to Mexican history and culture, including: “Women of Mesoamerica, “ “La Malinche: From Whore/Traitor to Mother/Goddess,” “The Virgin of Guadalupe: From Criolla to Guerrillera,” “Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: Transforming Portraits,” “Adelita: the Soldaderas of 1910-20,” “Frida Kahlo: Mexican Artist, World Icon,” and “Indigenous Women in the Huasteca.” Write Stephanie Wood for the password to access the Digital Teaching Units: swood (at) uoregon (dot) edu.
WHP played a major role in the recent, national meeting of the American Society for Ethnohistory. We regularly give scholarly papers at international Digital Humanities meetings and meetings with a Mesoamerican thrust. Here, however, we list a few of the symposia we have organized, where we are sharing out digital collections and tools, and inviting international collaboration.
- 2012, Vienna, Austria: ”Visual and Textual Dialogues in Mesoamerica,” a three-day panel for the 54th International Congress of Americanists; Justyna Olko (University of Warsaw) and Stephanie Wood, Co-Organizers.
- 2010, Warsaw, Poland: “Negotiating Encounters: Cross-Cultural Communication, Translation, and Interplay in Pre-Hispanic and Colonial Mesoamerica,” a week-long symposium; Justyna Olko (University of Warsaw) and Stephanie Wood, Co-Organizers.
- 2010, Oaxaca, Mexico, “Coloquio Internacional de Historia de Mujeres y Género en México,” an Americas RIG activity including Gabriela Martínez (Journalism), Lise Nelson (Geography), Lynn Stephen (Anthropology and CLLAS), and Stephanie Wood
- 2009, Mexico, Mexico: “Time and Space in Mesoamerican Cultural Memory,” a two-day panel for the 53rd International Congress of Americanists; Stephanie Wood and Amos Megged (Haifa University), Co-Organizers.