Doctoral candidate and teaching fellow Adam Kaeding presents, "Maya Mobility on the Frontier of Colonial Yucatán," on Tuesday, Nov. 29 at noon in the Zimmerman Library Waters room. Refreshments will be served.
Kaeding is a Ph.D. candidate in archaeology at Boston University. He was awarded the Greenleaf Visiting Library Scholar travel grant for the fall 2011 semester to conduct research on his project.
The conquest of the Maya of the Yucatán peninsula, though initiated in 1527, was considered officially successful by its chief protagonist Francisco de Montejo in 1547. Almost immediately, the documents of the Spanish colonial administration in Yucatán, both church and state, reflect a near desperate concern with the crown's indigenous subjects either moving from town to town or altogether leaving the area under Spanish control. By focusing on the movements of specific residents as well as larger patterns of mobility on the Spanish Yucatán's southern border, the data collected during this project suggests that the complex of mobility strategies employed at the individual level was a key factor in some of the region's grandest historical events. The very existence of the mobility options discussed here insist that the even the agricultural residents of the frontier areas of the peninsula could never be controlled as a true peasantry. As a result, many cultural and religious practices that Spaniards had long sought to eliminate persist.
Research shows that interpretations of Spanish and Christian law and custom that would appear heavily distorted in the eyes of the colonizers. Finally, this same nuanced mobility serve as not a sufficient but necessary factor for the instigation of a several indigenous uprisings that find their physical origins in the settlements of the frontier provinces.
By referring largely to documents collected and analyzed by Dr. France V. Scholes, especially those that record the secular and mendicant efforts to combat idolatry among the Maya population and associated regional maps, Raeding's project seeks to illustrate the fundamental colonial strategy of mobility as it was employed upon the defined landscape of the frontier of southern Yucatán.