In colonial North and South America, print was only one way of communicating. Information in various forms flowed across the boundaries between indigenous groups and early imperial settlements. Natives and newcomers made speeches, exchanged gifts, invented gestures, and inscribed their intentions on paper, bark, skins, and many other kinds of surfaces. No one method of conveying meaning was privileged, and written texts often relied on nonwritten modes of communication.
Colonial Mediascapes examines how textual and nontextual literatures interacted in colonial North and South America. Extending the textual foundations of early American literary history, the editors bring a wide range of media to the attention of scholars and show how struggles over modes of communication intersected with conflicts over religion, politics, race, and gender. This collection of essays by major historians, anthropologists, and literary scholars demonstrates that the European settlement of the Americas and European interaction with Native peoples were shaped just as much by communication challenges as by traditional concerns such as religion, economics, and resources.
List of Illustrations Foreword Paul Chaat Smith Acknowledgments Introduction Matt Cohen and Jeffrey Glover Part I. Beyond Textual Media 1. Dead Metaphor or Working Model? “The Book” in Native America Germaine Warkentin 2. Early Americanist Grammatology: Definitions of Writing and Literacy Andrew Newman 3. Indigenous Histories and Archival Media in the Early Modern Great Lakes Heidi Bohaker Part II. Multimedia Texts 4. The Manuscript, the Quipu, and the Early American Book: Don Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala’s Nueva Corónica y Buen Gobierno Birgit Brander Rasmussen 5. Semiotics, Aesthetics, and the Quechua Concept of Quilca Galen Brokaw 6. “Take My Scalp, Please!”: Colonial Mimesis and the French Origins of the Mississippi Tall Tale Gordon M. Sayre Part III. Sensory New Worlds 7. Brave New Worlds: The First Century of Indian-English Encounters Peter Charles Hoffer 8. Howls, Snarls, and Musket Shots: Saying “This Is Mine” in Colonial New England Jon Coleman 9. Hearing Wampum: The Senses, Mediation, and the Limits of Analogy Richard Cullen Rath Part IV: Transatlantic Mediascapes 10. Writing as “Khipu”: Titu Cusi Yupanqui’s Account of the Conquest of Peru Ralph Bauer 11. Christian Indians at War: Evangelism and Military Communication in the Anglo-French-Native Borderlands Jeffrey Glover 12. The Algonquian Word and the Spirit of Divine Truth: John Eliot’s Indian Library and the Atlantic Quest for a Universal Language Sarah Rivett Contributors Index
Matt Cohen is an associate professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of The Networked Wilderness: Communicating in Early New England. Jeffrey Glover is an assistant professor of English at Loyola University Chicago and the author of Paper Sovereigns: Anglo-Native Treaties and the Law of Nations, 1604–1664.
Contributors: Ralph Bauer, Heidi Bohaker, Galen Brokaw, Jon Coleman, Jeffrey Glover, Peter Charles Hoffer, Andrew Newman, Birgit Brander Rasmussen, Richard Cullen Rath, Sarah Rivett, Gordon M. Sayre, and Germaine Warkentin.
“Colonial Mediascapes offers compelling insights from a veritable Who’s Who of early American literacy studies. The range of topics, the geographical diversity, and the thoughtfully developed connections between these essays makes this a particularly welcome project. This is a timely collection that will without a doubt have a major impact on a number of intersecting fields—book history, Native studies, early American studies, literacy studies.”—Hilary E. Wyss, Hargis Professor of American Literature at Auburn University and author of English Letters and Indian Literacies: Reading, Writing, and New England Missionary Schools, 1750–1830