The Newberry Library Colloquium

Infatuation, Pollution, and Idolatry: The Apostolic Inquisition Report Against Doña Ana of Culhuacan, for Practicing Witchcraft
Wednesday, December 5, 2012

4 – 5 pm

Towner Fellows’ Lounge

León García Garagarza, Independent Scholar; 2012-13 Audrey Lumsden-Kouvel Fellow, Newberry Library

In the mid-1530s a Franciscan friar wrote a report to the Mexican Apostolic Inquisition about a case of witchcraft involving the family of the indigenous ruler of the town of Culhuacan. Although hurriedly written and somewhat fragmentary, this rare document is fascinating as it portrays the earliest known case of Nahua love magic, one that furthermore involves a female seducer. Kept in the Ayer Collection of the Newberry Library, the “Información contra doña Ana de Culhuacán, por brujería” shows a unique instance of the clash between the Catholic and Mesoamerican notions of love, sin, and sexual desire in the early years of colonialism.

The Newberry Library Colloquium is a weekly gathering of Newberry staff members, fellows, scholars-in-residence, and readers on Wednesday afternoon. Refreshments are available at 3:30 pm and an informal presentation begins at 4 pm, followed by discussion. The talks are varied, but all relate to the Newberry collections in some way. Speakers may describe a current research project, highlight a particular collection, or discuss one of the Library’s many ongoing or special programs. The Colloquium is open to the public and no reservations are required.

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