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Jaime Marroquín, Western Oregon State, "A method of science in Indies: Inquisitio, Translatio, Historia"

Wed May 1st 2024, 4:30 - 6:00pm
History Bldg 200, Room 307

'Tlacuiloque as painters', Codex Mendoza (c. 1541).

The 21st century has witnessed a ‘rediscovery’ of Iberian scientific knowledge as fundamental for our understanding of early modern science history. Key emphasis has been placed on the experience-based nature of most colonial knowledge, as well as on the vastness and systematicity of Spain’s imperial networks of knowledge. However, the extent to which most knowledge in Indies was derived from Indigenous sources and epistemes is often overlooked. Based on the common methodological practices underlying the works of naturalist of Indies, including Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo, Francisco Hernández, José de Acosta, and Francisco Javier Clavigero, this talk will argue that the production of knowledge and science in Indies was, therefore, the result of a massive and imperially sponsored adaptation of classical forms of knowledge production, such as judicial-like interrogation processes, translation studies and historiography-based inquiries. Aside from its methodological sophistication, colonial knowledge from the Indies of the West ultimately depended on the collective and individual agency of local informants regarding ‘truth’.