I’m interested in doing a research project on the military history of the new world. In particular, I would like to explore the material culture of war and warfare in one of the mesoamerican empires.
Something that I would want to research further would be how the Inca’s religion and their ideologies differed from those of the Christian colonizers. While they are obviously very different I want to look at how their different views affected the surrounding regions as well as how the Incas viewed the Spanish.
My first idea for a research question is: how did new national identities emerge from the Spanish colonial viceroyalties of Latin America prior to and during the Napoleonic Wars, and what motivated the large-scale uprisings against and distancing from Spanish rule? I’m interested to learn more about how nations and national identities sprung up in central and south America, driving thousands of people to revolt against colonial rule and create independent countries in a relatively short span of time. I also want to know more about the leadup to the revolutionary movements and how the local identity already in place in various regions may have contributed to the explosion of nationalist and independence-minded thought around this time – specifically, were there already large segments of the population that were pushing for freedom and self-government, and how did those segments become prominent enough to topple colonial rule in nearly all of Latin America?
My research question I want to dive deeper into revolves around the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs. Military history has always been the sub-section of history I’ve been most fascinated with. So my potential question is how could a far smaller Spanish army overthrow the most powerful empire in Mesoamerica? I could throw in something along the lines like could the Spanish have defeated the Aztecs without the aid of other native tribes that were rivals with the Aztecs?
While reading through the recent sources that have been shared, I have learned so much more about the smaller tribes in the Latin America area. One topic that really catches my eye was the way the Incas and Aztec societies grew to such an extent. How there didn’t have a set a government in place to grow into some of the largest civilizations in Latin America. Id also likes to look deeper in their religious elements in the societies and how the ways they started following certain gods such as the sun gods and many more.
I think an interesting research topic for me would be what were the thoughts of Native Americans with the arrival of the Europeans? We often hear the explorer’s viewpoint but not the Native Americans’. I would want to know what they thought of the Europeans and what their initial reactions were. What immediate impact did the Europeans have on their societies at the time of arrival?
I think that one research topic that would be really interesting to study would be about Christopher Columbus as a person, his effects on Latin America, and how he is portrayed today. I think that it would be especially interesting to compare how he is celebrated in America versus what his actions were and how he affected these civilizations. Christopher Columbus’s importance is well known, as he opened up the New World to Europe, and researching him as a person would bring a greater understanding to both sides of the world at this time period.
What influence has the colonial era of Argentina had on modern day Argentinian society (culture, politics, language, values)?
I think this question in important to our understanding of colonial latin america, as through the answering of this question one could understand the roots that colonialism planted in the “new world” societies and how they’ve continued to have an effect to this day. I really enjoy this topic because it delves into the history of modern day Argentina, all the way back to colonial times. But, I also understand that it might not be what you’re looking for.
If that is not what youre looking for, an alternative question is:
What impact did the arguments of Las Casas have on the conquestidors and their future in Latin America?
I think that this question would be very interesting for our understanding of colonial latin america becuase Las Casas was one of the first docummented and powerful/respected man to stand up against the pratices of the conquestidors, as he recoginized the injustice beign done. Although he was not considered to have won the debate, it would be interesting to research his impact.
I am interested in ancient trade networks within prehispanic Mesoamerica. A question I might want to investigate is: how did the interconnectedness or disconnectedness of trade affect relations between ancient Aztec and Mayan society?
As a comparative project, I think it would be interesting to look at the ways trade remained central or expanded outside the boundaries of different Mesoamerican societies. One academic journal I was looking at discussed the importance of the marketplace because it was the center of commerce within a city. This allowed communities to come together and sell their products to other individuals from other regions. Another historical journal emphasized how dynamic the Mesoamerican economy was, which counters previous research that said that Mesoamerican economies were completely localized. There are many directions I could take this. I could focus specifically on certain resources, such as maize, obsidian, or crafts. Or I could look at the bigger picture and address the trade networks and trends between different Mesoamerican societies.
One of the research avenues I am toying with pursuing is to review colonial Latin American conquest dramas such as The End of Atau Wallpa and The Loa for the Auto Sacramental of The Divine Narcissus. How do these conquest dramas express the attitudes of the native peoples toward colonization, and how do those performative reflections stack up to primary documents detailing those same attitudes?
In my major, it is important to recognize the importance of pieces of drama from parts of the world that are not Europe. And further, in recognizing those records as historically relevant, they are made all the more important in academia; we should study the texts in the same ways as we study Shakespeare.