Popul Vuh ● What about its origin raises questions about the text? Why is this an issue? How does Bazzett seek to answer this question? Do you find his point persuasive? ● What is the role of myth in the world’s created and lived in by humans? What questions do they seek to answer? How do they do so? Are myths simply primitive stories that can be dispensed with? ● As compared with other myths with which you might be familiar (Biblical, Quranic, Vedic), what are some distinguishing features of this myth? Why does it matter that the Popul Vuh seems to woven of dualities? As opposed to what? Does this fact suggest anything about the way K’iche’ Maya understood their relationship to the world, to each other? ● What is the relationship to nature seen through the eyes of the twins? ● What, ultimately, do the twins accomplish? How does the storyline differ from a Biblical one? ● What is it to be human, as far as the Popul Vuh seems to be concerned? What shall we make of the fact that once the twins enable true humans to be, they are almost too perfect? What does Bazzett suggest as a way of understanding this outcome?
Jan 22-24 Todorov - chapters 2-3 (pp. 51-182), Conquest and Love, and only the second section of chapter 4 (pp. 202-218). Closer to myth than to argument, it is nonetheless to be distinguished from myth on two levels: first because it is a true story (which myth could, but need not, be), and second because my main interest is less a historian's than a moralist's; the present is more important to me than the past .... a story which will be as true as possible but in telling which I shall try never to lose sight of what biblical exegesis used to call its tropological or ethical meaning. “Did the Spaniards defeat the Indians by means of signs?” Depends on difference in mental worlds and forms of communications between Cortes and Montezuma … advantage b/c Spaniards literacy and how this changes man’s symbolic apparatus and social behavior Writing → analytic mentality vs. ritual speech and inflexible thought How do we “know” what we know about the Aztecs, in Todorov’s account? Spanish political and economic control context of SPanish-Indian relations What does he mean in arguing that there are two major forms of communication, one between man and man, and the other between man and the world? Europeans conquered the Amerindians through their superior ability to understand ‘the Other’. More generally, he contended that Western Europeans had a general ‘superiority in human communication’, demonstrated by the fact that they used alphabetic writing Aztec communication (man with the world, rather than man with man) Writing meant Spanish conversed with each other Aztecs didn’t differentiate between society and individual / collectivity How does this impinge on his argument that the Aztecs believed the Spaniards were gods? (75) What is Todorov assuming in making this statement (hint: what is a god?)?
- Spring '19