The Conquest of America: The Question of the Other



The Conquest Of America Is A Fascinating Study Of Cultural Confrontation In The New World, With Implications Far Beyond Sixteenth Century America The Book Offers An Original Interpretation Of The Spaniards Conquest, Colonization, And Destruction Of Pre Columbian Cultures In Mexico And The Caribbean Using Sixteenth Century Sources, The Distinguished French Writer And Critic Tzvetan Todorov Examines The Beliefs And Behavior Of The Spanish Conquistadors And Of The Aztecs, Adversaries In A Clash Of Cultures That Resulted In The Near Extermination Of Mesoamerica S Indian Population.The Conquest of America: The Question of the Other

In BulgarianTodorov was a Franco Bulgarian historian, philosopher and literary theoretician Among his most influential works is his theory on the fantastic, the uncanny and marvellous.

[[ Read ]] ➪ The Conquest of America: The Question of the Other Author Tzvetan Todorov – E17streets4all.co.uk
  • Paperback
  • 292 pages
  • The Conquest of America: The Question of the Other
  • Tzvetan Todorov
  • English
  • 20 November 2017
  • 0806131373

10 thoughts on “The Conquest of America: The Question of the Other

  1. says:

    This is a remarkable book It reads rather strangely translated Polish French English but has all sorts of eerie foreshadowing of 20th C atrocities Don t read it if you re feeling low Todorov s guess for the preconquest population of Mexico c 1500 was about 25 million By 1650, native population was down to about 1 million, or 4% of the pre Spanish population Spanish America went from a population estimated at perhaps 80 million in 1500, to about 10 million in 1650.He recounts muti This is a remarkable book It reads rather strangely translated Polish French English but has all sorts of eerie foreshadowing of 20th C atrocities Don t read it if you re feeling low Todorov s guess for the preconquest population of Mexico c 1500 was about 25 million By 1650, native population was down to about 1 million, or 4% of the pre Spanish population Spanish America went from a population estimated at perhaps 80 million in 1500, to about 10 million in 1650.He recounts mutilations, labor camps, deliberate starvation of natives, massacres but 90% orof the native deaths were from European diseases, and wereor less inevitable, even if the Spanish had been kinder conquerors If Todorov s figures are about right, this is by far the worst genocidal disaster in human history, dwarfing the awful 19th and 20th century killings.Todorov s pre conquest estimates are on the high side of current scholarship, but there is still no consensus on the pre Columbian population of the Americas see the review at 1998 study called this the greatest human catastrophe in history Pretty grim reading The consequences of this mostly accidental genocide still reverberate today

  2. says:

    Todorov creates a loose typology of forms of intercultural interaction through an examination of both major andminor figures from the Spanish conquest of Mexico His focus is on the way these various figures communicate and understand different discourses natural, human, and divine 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 Todorov creates a loose typology of forms of intercultural interaction through an examination of both major andminor figures from the Spanish conquest of Mexico His focus is on the way these various figures communicate and understand different discourses natural, human, and divine 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 conquer the other This comes, however, at the expense of a real ability to communicate with or understand the natural world hence the ongoing myth of the noble savage in the Euro American imagination.Todorov writes with the hope of moving us towards a model of communication beyond extermination, colonization, or mere commucating to one of communicating with the other, in which we come to understand both ourselves and the other better simultaneously As in many of his other works, Todorov is influenced here by Levinas ideas about the Other However, his inability to interrogate his own ideas of superiority and advanced societies means that he is almost bound to fail at his own project At the same time that he is allegedly raising questions about how to create systems of value and the validity of of pushing one s values on another, he continously makes statements about the Europeans success, advancement, and superiority without discussing at all what values make something superior or advanced This makes much of his interpretation a little hard to swallow, as it necessitates a fair amount of second guessing over the copious quotations he presents and exegetes.Overall, I often wondered while reading what this book would have looked like written a decade orlater, after the movement through subaltern studies into post colonial studies, and all the work on cultural studies, cultural hybridity, etc that has happened since then Much as I didn t enjoy reading Homi Bhabha, I think that some of his ideas here about what constitutes culture and how culture is communicated and transmitted would be useful here

  3. says:

    Todorov s subject is the Spanish conquest of the Caribbean and Mexico in the 16th century We re familiar with Columbus s discovery of the islands in the Caribbean and their Indians And how Cortez conquered the Aztecs with a relatively small band of men is an evenfamiliar story We ve read accounts of priests Christianizing the Indians and how the population was enslaved and decimated by disease We understand the conquest in terms of the leading edge of 16th century technology coming int Todorov s subject is the Spanish conquest of the Caribbean and Mexico in the 16th century We re familiar with Columbus s discovery of the islands in the Caribbean and their Indians And how Cortez conquered the Aztecs with a relatively small band of men is an evenfamiliar story We ve read accounts of priests Christianizing the Indians and how the population was enslaved and decimated by disease We understand the conquest in terms of the leading edge of 16th century technology coming into abrupt contact with a society not possessing a written language.Todorov tells us the narrative is one of how information is processed History understood through semiotics He sees the indigenous peoples as unable to improvise in the face of Spanish force and manipulation Their world operated through ritual and symbol, the interpretations obtained in the past applied to the present Spanish improvisation overwhelmed ritual The better,pragmatic understanding of available information led to the subjugation of a unique civilization Though his history ends about 1600 or so, that central tenet of European Amerindian contact, the establishment of one rule of law over the other, the submission of one culture to another as one system of information proveduseful than the other, remained the pattern for the next 350 years Todorov does simplify it somewhat in his Epilogue by reducing the evolution of symbology to the possession of writing, which favors improvisation.He addresses other aspects of the Spanish impact in the New World as well The great death from European diseases it s estimated that as many as 90% of the Indian population died during the century, an unintended circumstance coupled with the general brutality of the occupation to create a genocide is covered at some length, as is that population s enslavement But he spendstime on the Christianization of the Indians, and it leads to a conclusion I found surprising Many in the Spanish clergy didn t think Indian society necessarily inferior to that of the Spanish In fact, Todorov tries to show how many of the stereotypes emphasizing the otherness of Indian society were exaggerated by conquistadores The brutality of the conquest suggested there was little difference between them, and Todorov writes the conquest became that of a sacrifice society by a massacre society The 2 cultures in Mexico formed what he called a massacrifice society.The style is academic and thickly worded, made evendifficult by the frequent lengthy quotes of contemporary Spanish sources But it s an interesting read It s a subject which has always fascinated me, and this is a different, compelling way to look at a familiar history I came to it aware of its controversies, maybe attracted by them I m glad I did

  4. says:

    Absolute piece of garbage that couches history in semiotics, Oreintalism and conflict theory Todorov s whole argument revolves around the idea that the Aztecaccurately known as the Mexica were incapable of defending themselves The Aztecs were too superstitious and basically just not smart enough to not be conquered by the Spaniards And what sources does Todorov use to defend this point 1 Chronicles by Hernan Cortes and Bernal Diaz are the most cited What Todorov apparently has ne Absolute piece of garbage that couches history in semiotics, Oreintalism and conflict theory Todorov s whole argument revolves around the idea that the Aztecaccurately known as the Mexica were incapable of defending themselves The Aztecs were too superstitious and basically just not smart enough to not be conquered by the Spaniards And what sources does Todorov use to defend this point 1 Chronicles by Hernan Cortes and Bernal Diaz are the most cited What Todorov apparently has never heard of is the Probanza de Meritous, or basically the hype rap of the conquest period Probonza s were used as justification for conquest, telling the king that all the awful things they did was because they had to the Aztecs which weren t even called that during the conquest period were too uncivilized not to be conquered Diaz is the Flava Flav to Cortes Chuck D, so of course Diaz would extol his virtues to no end 2 The Florentine Codex A duel Mexica Spaniard text written well after the conquest 3 Duran Duran s writings were found 300 years after the conquest period and nobody knows where he got his information, or who the hell this guy really is A theory is bandied about that Duran wrote off of something called Chronicle X, which has never been found My other main issue with this is the use of Other Other is a homogenizing term that clumps all non whites into one group with distinguishing between them It s a too easy, faux academic scare word that has no place in actual discussion of conquest But, of course, Todorov isn t a historian, but he sure does get super excited about pretending to be one

  5. says:

    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 There were also far too many ill conceived generalized assertions and misplaced analogies Idk I took some useful ideas from this book, and I think Todorov has his heart in the right place, but there are a lot of very obvious problems with this work.

  6. says:

    I still think about this book all the time and read it well over a yr ago now in class certain elements just like won t ever leave and I m grateful to have been able to have a full class s help picking this one apart Spain conquered Iberian peninsula and the Americas in the same yr the psychology of that almost like getting your shit together internally so to speak requires an external projection of violence 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 certain elements just like won t ever leave and I m grateful to have been able to have a full class s help picking this one apart Spain conquered Iberian peninsula and the Americas in the same yr the psychology of that almost like getting your shit together internally so to speak requires an external projection of violence writing as a system of domination the naming of the Yucatan peninsula as Spaniards misunderstanding Aztec language for their own tongue and the assumption that a language you cannot understand is nonsense as though it does not have its own rules order to which you are ignorant and most important of all for me is Todorov s idea of the tension of dealing with OTHERS 1 either assimilate them into your own personality they are JUST LIKE me 2 or reject them entirely to the margins they are NOTHING like me both perform different objectives of domination bc in one you nullify the distance between you and other that makes you separate but in the other you do the opposite and attack the sameness that intertwines people it has brought to my life a critical attention to this tension and not wanting to succumb to either side of that unnecessary dichotomy of FOR or AGAINST people suck sometimes and sometimes not even within the same day respect distance to respect difference or else your efforts to connect thru elements of sameness will always be artificial and rooted in your deluded perceptions

  7. says:

    This book takes an interesting tack in looking at the time of America s conquering and attempted assimilation into the European milieu Todorov uses a great deal of first hand documentation to display the mindsets and motivations of such historical figures as Colombus, Cortes, and Montezuma This is certainly an aspect of the book to be commended Broadly, the thesis is that the overwhelming majority of the Spaniards were not interested in seeing the natives as people possessing an equal portion This book takes an interesting tack in looking at the time of America s conquering and attempted assimilation into the European milieu Todorov uses a great deal of first hand documentation to display the mindsets and motivations of such historical figures as Colombus, Cortes, and Montezuma This is certainly an aspect of the book to be commended 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 Largely by doing profiles of some of the major figures and digging deep into their thoughts and beliefs, the author unveils the prevailing feeling of superiority among the Spaniards whether it be because of a lack of respect for the natives way of life in general or because they were reluctant to accept Christianity If one is intensely interested in such things, the nuance and depth that Todorov lays out in describing these views is magnificent

  8. says:

    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 And the question here what would have happened if spain hadn t entered the Americas The natives had their own life language. culture. religion..etc and just in a blink of an eye the spainsh people came and decided that you are living your life wrong you are a fucking pagan and you have to be a christian or be killed 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 And the question here what would have happened if spain hadn t entered the Americas The natives had their own life language. culture. religion..etc and just in a blink of an eye the spainsh people came and decided that you are living your life wrong you are a fucking pagan and you have to be a christian or be killed my friendHow i hate the spainsh right now they made the country worse the whole damn south continent worse moral RESPECT THE OTHER PEOPLE RESPECT THE OTHER

  9. says:

    I need to read this again soon.

  10. says:

    Memorial stars.

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