Article ID: CBB515132509

The Giant Remains: Mesoamerican Natural History, Medicine, and Cycles of Empire (2021)


Giant bones unearthed throughout the Mesoamerican countryside provoked early modern thinkers to grapple with the earth’s ages, partially syncretizing Nahua histories of human conquest with Spanish colonial medicinal and natural historical knowledge. European naturalists’ willingness to accept the giant remains required them to embrace localized Mesoamerican cosmologies. The fossilized landscape provided evidence that conquest and eradication had happened before at the hands of the peoples whom the Spaniards had conquered in turn. Lost from early modern collections and failing to translate far beyond New Spain during the sixteenth century, the giant remains highlight the possibilities and challenges of integrating Mesoamerican knowledge into the global history of science, with an emphasis on emplaced thinking, medicine and the body, and deeper temporal frameworks. Moving beyond itinerary histories to globalizing cosmologies in the history of science can better explain the compromises Europeans and Mesoamericans were required to make to enter into a syncretic intellectual contract, as well as the non-European concept of time that came with local reckonings with the human and more-than-human natural world.

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Authors & Contributors
Cherubini, Arnaldo
Mathieu, Jon
Boscani Leoni, Simona
Walker, Timothy Dale
Haycock, David Boyd
Camarasa, Josep Maria
History of Psychiatry
L'Erma di Bretschneider
Ciso Toscano Editore
Peter Lang
Yale University Press
Universitat de València
Princeton University Press
Science and art
Natural history
Wax modeling
Medicine and art
Lull, Ramón
Carson, Rachel Louise
Linnaeus, Carolus
Darwin, Charles Robert
Muir, John
Alps (Europe)
Catalonia (Spain)
Great Britain
Early modern
18th century
19th century

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