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They also determine the themes to be treated, by excluding certain others. The “advanced” civilizations of Columbus’ age were enlightened, making great progress in the sciences and humanities, but only according to their narrow world view. Todorov puts forth one way of linking communication and conquest when he argued that Europeans conquered the Amerindians through their superior ability to understand the “Other. Those that were different, in dress, culture, or religious beliefs, were beneath them and destined to be conquered or converted. I had to read this for a seminar on multiculturalism. We're familiar with Columbus's discovery of the islands in the Caribbean and their Indians. True identification of self with the other is rare, as Todorov indicates, though Gonzalo Guerrero, the shipwrecked Spaniard, comes the closest (Todorov 195) and the wonderfully named Albar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca identifies “incompletely” with the Indians after he too is shipwrecked (Todorov 198). According to Las Casas, thus there is a universal love of God, but all religious expressions of this love are culturally specific, and as such relative. (Todorov 233). His interventions in the text are not only rare, but clearly separated from the rest. A bit slow and painful at times, but if you can barrage through it, you will definitely learn a lot. How could the word “God” be translated when what the Indians meant by their word for God and the Catholic definition of God were two totally different concepts? Both in his letters and in his diary, Christopher Columbus repeatedly expresses his primary purpose as a religious one. Todorov uses the terms “distributive” and “assimilationist” to portray Las Casas’s approach towards the American Indians. By TZVETAN. His analysis is eye opening in that he reveals an entirely different (non Western) way of looking at the invasion of the Spanish. Pp. His conclusion: the Europeans successfully conquer the Americas because of their superior interhuman communication; it is, "paradoxically, Europeans' capacity to understand the other" (248) that allows them to. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders. Every December, as we wrap up our annual Goodreads Reading Challenge, we ask our book-loving colleagues a simple yet incredibly tough... To see what your friends thought of this book, [أريد قرأت الكتاب فهل حد يعرف اذا كان في منه نسخة مترجمة للعربي, The Conquest of America: The Question of the Other. as aways, greed and god were the reasons for all the evil they did. This translation constitutes more an interpretation from the original text. However, as Todorov points out, “Asserting his own hybrid identity in confronting the beings his is trying to describe, he no longer succeeds in his project of comprehension, since he attributes to his characters thoughts and intentions which belong only to himself and to the other cultural hybrids of his time” (Todorov 217). Tzvetan Todorov examines the beliefs and behavior of the Spanish conquistadors and of the Aztecs. The lack of citations is really not a good look for a book that looks at how perceptions of the other have been rendered in primary sources. A brilliant book! This would appear to contradict Todorov’s later assertion that the axiological axis ranges from equality to inferiority, though Todorov notes on page 165 that “this inverted distribution of values, incontestable proof of his generosity of spirit, does not lessen the schematic of his vision. Cortés had heard According to Tzvetan Todorov, then, while Las Casas refuses to condemn the Indians because they are different, he simultaneously refuses to admit that they are different (Todorov 167). Hi there, would you like to get such a paper? In order to propagate better Christianism he projected to write the history of the ancient Mexican religion. Todorov claims that “the effective conquest of information leads to the ultimate collapse of the Aztec empire. Yet if the Indians are potential Christians, then they are fundamentally no different from the European Christians sent to convert them. In particular, he focuses on the work of three writers, all Spanish, but among the first generations of Europeans native to South America. He creates vivid pictures that stand out in the imagination, colored by a “marvelous” descriptive style. They were so successful, Todorov argues, that in the centuries following the initial encounter between Europeans and Amerindians, Europeans were able to gradually assimilate the “Other” and eliminate alterity. A great experiment of semiotic interpretation of an historical event. We're familiar with Columbus's discovery of the islands in the Caribbean and their Indians. Rather, the fall of Montezuma was inevitable. His focus is on the way these various figures communicate and understand different discourses: natural, human, and divine. The passages (filed under Love) on massacre and human sacrifice are amazing; the section (under Knowledge) on the last conversion of Las Casas argues compellingly that he is among the first people to achieve a modern understanding of cultural relativism, and that it is only at the end of his long and remarkable life that he begins to overcome religious chauvinism and to see the Indians he has spent his life advocating for as both equal and different. Broadly, the thesis is that the overwhelming majority of the Spaniards were not interested in seeing the natives as people possessing an equal portion of humanity. The author gives a unique perspective on history - he is a linguist. Bartolome de Las Casas was one of the best known missionaries in Spanish America. Las Casas was touched by the massacres committed towards the “Indians” and decided to attempt at protecting them. Apart from Sahagun’s presence in the Nahuatl material, the accompanying Spanish translation to the Nahuatl text includes notes, prologues and digressions, which according to Todorov, frame the entire work. It was just a myth. This book takes an interesting tack in looking at the time of America's conquering and attempted assimilation into the European milieu. The problem of translation was another which caused much dispute as to whether indoctrination should be done in Indian languages. Free delivery in the US Read more here. Spain conquered Iberian peninsula and the Americas in the same yr. the psychology of that. Not a first book on the conquest, but a worthy overview once you've got several others under your belt. . (Todorov 190-191). Therefore, it was Montezuma’s uncertainty, born of his own religious belief that led to the sudden collapse of the Aztec empire. Sometimes it is uncomfortable to look back through history and see the atrocities that have been committed by those that are thought of as civilized. Todorov notes that, like Las Casas, Sahagun “adheres to the Christian doctrine of the equality of man” (Todorov 239), but it seems that Sahagun goes a step further: “The replacement of Aztec society by Spanish society is therefore a two-edged sword; and after having carefully weighed the pros and cons, Sahagun decides, more forcefully than Duran, that the final result is negative” (Todorov 237). Sahagun, who attempted a faithful chronicle, the Indians’ history by recording oral testimonies in Nabuatl, substituted the word “devil” for the Nahuatl “God” in his translation of the work. The Aztecs on the other hand, were so steeped in ritual that they were taken advantage of by the Spanish, who, when they learned their customs and myths, effectively wrote themselves in to the ongoing prophetic fulfillment that the Aztecs found in the events of their world. The Conquest of America is a fascinating study of cultural confrontation in the New World, with implications far beyond sixteenth-century America. His work can be qualified as “ethnography” as he is just collecting information without interpretation, and making only a timid comparison with Ancient Rome, but without being comparative. I give it four stars not because I liked it so much, but because I recognize that it is well written and I cannot, "The Conquest of America" reveals the basically, the conquest of America, starting with Columbus, and then moving onto the wrath of Cortez and the Spaniards. writing as a system of domination. the naming of the Yucatan peninsula as Spaniards, I still think about this book all the time and read it well over a yr ago now in class. For Todorov, Europeans displayed “remarkable qualities of flexibility and improvisation,” characteristics that allowed them to be more effective in imposing their ways of life on others (Todorov 247–8). The Conquest of America by Tzvetan Todorov. New York: Harper & Row, 1984. Based on first appearances, these people should be easily conquered and ready for conversion to the Christian Faith. We've read accounts of priests Christianizing the Indians and how the population was enslaved and decimated by disease. I have never imagined that the spainsh conquest was that bad ... like really what is the diference between making sacrifice and doing massacres in the name of god . Las Casas’ political solution to the “Indians” is to maintain previous states with their Kings and governors, with catholic preaches but without the military, and if the Kings express this wish, to establish a sort of federation presided by the King of Spain. TODOROV. At the end of the book, Todorov closes with a discussion of “Las Casas’ Prophesy” concerning the wrath that “God will vent” not only upon Spain but all of Western Europe, because of its “impious, criminal and ignominious deeds perpetrated so unjustly, tyrannically and barbarously. This is an absolutely remarkable book. Buy The Conquest of America: The Question of the Other New edition by Todorov, Tzvetan (ISBN: 9780806131375) from Amazon's Book Store. As a consequence of this approach the greatness of civilizations, which boasted of their unity of faith, was automatically suspect from an Indian point of view. His Historia general de las cosas de Nueva Espana would occupy him for forty years. The Aztecs were too superstitious and basically just not smart enough to not be conquered by the Spaniards. Our excellent value books literally don't cost the earth. Crimes against humanity in the name of any god seem to be a constant part of the human psyche. (Todorov 151-167). This was not the case. (Todorov 227) In the final part of the book, Todorov investigates the impact that these events have had on the subsequent writings on the subject. Proposed by Tzvetan Todorov of difference by illustrating that the Indians and how conquered! New York Essays 2020, they would be Mexican and Christian — a city of God especially... Very subtle, it is always difficult to know how to judge books that were different, in,... 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