2017 Whiting Award presentation to highlight Mesoamerican volcanic history

January 17, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Megan McDonie, 2017 Whiting Indigenous Knowledge Student Research Award recipient, will present a talk titled “En las faldas del volcán: Contested Territories Surrounding the Popocatepetl Volcano 1590-1617” at 2 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 26, in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, and on MediaSite.

At the end of the 16th century, Spanish officials in central Mexico claimed private control over indigenous communal lands. This talk evaluates these conflicts to show how indigenous communities opposed this affront to their landscape. McDonie links ethnohistory and history of science to examine how the dynamics of conquest and colonization shaped perceptions of the natural environment. By privileging indigenous knowledge about the environment, this project expands the traditionally accepted geographic boundaries of early modern knowledge production and it emphasizes the importance of indigenous knowledge in natural histories.

McDonie is a doctoral candidate in Latin American history at Penn State, researching a dissertation on the cultural and intellectual history of volcanoes in early modern Mexico and Guatemala. Her research has been funded by a Whiting Research Award grant sponsored by the Interinstitutional Center for Indigenous Knowledge (ICIK).

The program introduction is offered by Matthew Restall, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Colonial Latin American History, Anthropology and Women's Studies.

Last Updated January 17, 2018