Chapter ID: CBB746398762

Resignification as Fourth Narrative: Power and the Colonial Religious Experience in Tula, Hidalgo (2019)


This chapter compares ceramic assemblages and colonial religious monuments at two early colonial religious sites at Tula, Hidalgo. Data from these sites indicate that colonial changes in material culture were much more gradual than we expected, and driven to a surprising degree by Indigenous traditions and aesthetic prerogatives. These findings led the author to reconsider various models of social change that would adequately account for Indigenous subjects’ influence on the material culture of Catholic religious sites. Documentary sources clearly indicate that the colonial religious experience entailed violence and domination. However, models of top-down power alone could not account for the data in Tula. Conversely, models that posited cultural continuity – an Indigenous “core” with a Spanish colonial “veneer” – seemed inadequate to account for genuine Indigenous relationships with the Church. This paper explores the legacies and problems of several models, including acculturation and syncretism, before positing Judith Butler’s concept of resignification as an appropriate model of colonial power and religious change.

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Authors & Contributors
Corinne L. Hofman
Andrzej T. Antczak
Sheptak, Russell N.
Keehnen, Floris W.M.
Joyce, Rosemary A.
Marirose Meyer
International Journal of Historical Archaeology
Historical Archaeology
University of New Mexico Press
Historical archaeology
Cross-cultural interaction; cultural influence
Indigenous peoples
Material culture
Spain, colonies
Missionaries and missions
Time Periods
16th century
17th century
15th century
18th century
19th century
20th century
California (U.S.)
Florida (U.S.)
Latin America

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