Brutality and Benevolence: Human Ethology, Culture, and the Birth of Mexico

Brutality and Benevolence: Human Ethology, Culture, and the Birth of Mexico

Brutality and Benevolence: Human Ethology, Culture, and the Birth of Mexico

Brutality and Benevolence: Human Ethology, Culture, and the Birth of Mexico

Synopsis

The Spanish conquest of Mexico is examined from the entirely new perspective of human animal behavior, or human ethology. Aspects of material culture like food, clothing, and shelter are explored as they relate to species-specific tendencies, including benevolence, brutality, xenophobia, curiosity, hierarchy, reciprocity, and territoriality.

Excerpt

While writing this book I have been fortunate enough to have benefited from the analytical probity and editorial skills of Carol Blakney. If this book has anything to say, it is because of her excellent questions and suggestions. I would also like to thank Robert A. Potash and Jeffrey A. Cole for having introduced me to the complexities of Latin American reality, and Miriam Usher Chrisman for her unwavering support.

Extended excerpts from the Florentine Codex of Bernardino de Sahagún were made possible by the School of American Research in Santa Fe and the University of Utah Press, who own rights to the translation of that work by Arthur J. O. Anderson and Charles E. Dibble (1950-1982). Excerpts from J. M. Cohen's translation of The Conquest of New Spain (1963) were made possible by Penguin Books UK, while Yale University Press allowed usage of excerpts from Anthony Pagden edition of Hernán Cortés: Letters from Mexico (1986). The publishing house of Aldine de Gruyter supplied permission to cite extracts from Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt's Human Ethology (1989). In Mexico City, the staff of the Archivo General de la Nación proved patient and efficient, and the University of Texas's Benson Latin American Collection has provided aid above and beyond the call of duty. In various citations and references from Mexico's colonial period archaic spellings have been maintained.

Finally, I would like to thank Richard Blakney of the Redhouse Press (PK 142 Sirkeci 34432 Istanbul, Turkey) for providing camera-ready copy.

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