Indigenous Knowledge as a Resource: Transmission, Reception, and Interaction of Knowledge between the Americas and Europe, 1492-1800
Fechner, Fabian (editor)
Takeda, Kazuhisa (editor)
Since antiquity, knowledge has often been juxtaposed with opinion. Whereas opinion commonly refers to subjective perceptions and viewpoints, knowledge is typically intended to represent objective and verifiable propositions. On this view, knowledge per se claims a universal dimension in that it pretends to be approvable through the reason of everyone, everywhere. This universal aspect of the concept of knowledge stands in marked contrast to cultures of local knowledge, where the generation of knowledge is dependent on specific times and places. These divergent aspects came into conflict when Indigenous knowledge was contested by Europeans and likewise, Indigenous challenges to European knowledge occurred. Based on religious, linguistic, demographic, and cultural disparities, knowledge operative in one context was adapted, manipulated, reframed, or dismissed as spurious or heretical in another framework. This book focuses on historical examples of Indigenous knowledge from 1492 until circa 1800, with contributions from the fields of history, art history, geography, anthropology, and archaeology. Among the wide range of sources employed are Indigenous letters, last wills, missionary sermons, bilingual catechisms, archive inventories, natural histories, census records, maps, herbal catalogues of remedies, pottery, and stone carvings. These sources originate from Brazil, the Río de la Plata basin (parts of current-day Argentina, lowland Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay), the Andean region, New Spain (current-day Mexico), the Canary Islands, and Europe. The 14 chapters in this book are clustered into five main sections: (1) Medical Knowledge; (2) Languages, Texts, and Terminology; (3) Cartography and Geographical Knowledge; (4) Material and Visual Culture; and (5) Missionary Perceptions.
KeywordsIndigenous knowledge; early modern period; the Americas; historiography; material studies; transfer of knowledge; globalisation
PublisherTübingen University Press
Publication date and placeTübingen, 2021-08-05