It would seem that his method would be a close reflection of the original view of his own history and culture. ” Sahagun is considered a Franciscan “linguist”, not part of the aristocracy or high ranked religious — who despised having to lower themselves to learning Indian culture and language, so he learned the language — Nahuatl — and learned to live together with the “Indians. His focus is on the way these various figures communicate and understand different discourses: natural, human, and divine. (Todorov 151-167). So bad it's funny. 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. . Why buy from World of Books. The Conquest of America Summary. 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. For Todorov, Europeans displayed “remarkable qualities of flexibility and improvisation,” characteristics that allowed them to be more effective in imposing their ways of life on others (Todorov 247–8). The Conquest of America is a well-written and entertaining book to read. Todorov uses a great deal of first-hand documentation to display the mindsets and motivations of such historical figures as Colombus, Cortes, and Montezuma. Obviously the book talks about so much more and goes into the subtleties of multiple points of view. This is because, people who haven’t read Todorov’s book, are obviously unaware of who the person behind the mask really was. Donald M. Lowe; tzvetan todorov. Las Casas illustrates the dangers of Sepulveda’s position and offers an alternative framework of jus ad bellum that focuses on injury and warns against including humanitarian benefits in the just cause criterion. If one is intensely interested in such things, the nuance and depth that Todorov lays out in describing these views is magnificent. Todorov was a Franco-Bulgarian historian, philosopher and literary theoretician. Overall this book is excellent in giving the reader a more nuanced understanding of the history of the 16th century so-called “New World.”. As a consequence, Christianity is not the only, nor the best way to God. Obviously, however, the knowledge is organized in a European way through answers to a European-made questionnaire. Among his most influ... About Tzvetan Todorov: In Bulgarian Цветан Тодоров. The book offers an original interpretation of the Spaniards’ conquest, colonization, and destruction of pre-Columbian cultures in … Both always ground their distance from the Indians in the latter’s distance from their own identity. His ships carried 600 conquistadors with horses and weapons.They wanted fame and riches. Therefore, it was Montezuma’s uncertainty, born of his own religious belief that led to the sudden collapse of the Aztec empire. Todorov uses exploration and discussion of primary writings (journal entries, letters, scholarly treatments) from the 1400 and 1500s to explore cultural differences and differences in worldview that allowed the Spanish, hugely outnumbered and in unfamiliar territory, to successfully conquer the Americas. His main conclusions focus on the differences in the way that Spaniards and Aztecs viewed and learned from their encounters and interactions with "the Other" as well as their ability to adapt their strategies and interpretations based on these encounters. Todorov uses a great deal of first-hand documentation to display the mindsets and motivations of such historical figures as Colombus, Cortes, and Montezuma. as aways, greed and god were the reasons for all the evil they did. The natives are dressed simply, if dressed at all, and have no religion that is apparent to Columbus. 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 categorizes Sahagun in his “typology of relationships to otherness” as a believer of the Christian doctrine of equality between men. His interventions in the text are not only rare, but clearly separated from the rest. This book takes an interesting tack in looking at the time of America's conquering and attempted assimilation into the European milieu. Todorov brings about an interesting look into the expeditions of Columbus, based on Columbus’ own writings. This is an absolutely remarkable book. However, even if he learns the language and the culture of the “Indians,” he maintains his identity, and even idealizes the “Indians. “(Todorov 103). Columbus describes the natives in near animal or beast of burden terms, because of the nature of the culture of the natives. These people don’t know that he really wasn’t the good guy that he was claimed to be. Conquest by Semiotics!From his hard-nosed book dedication “ . Spain conquered Iberian peninsula and the Americas in the same yr. the psychology of that. The narrative of the conquest of America serves as a sort of case study to illustrate Todorov's ideas concerning the Other, and ample supporting evidence is given from the writings of Columbus, Cortes, several Spanish historians of the period, and even some of the Aztecs' writings. Start by marking “The Conquest of America: The Question of the Other” as Want to Read: Error rating book. Oh, the many hours of filmed footage he has watched to be able to write such insightful pages! He interviewed Indians who were eyewitnesses to the conquest and used native scribes to record and illustrate what was said in Nahuatl. Watch Queue Queue Welcome back. (Todorov 232). If he admits that there are differences between Spaniards, and Indians that would function to the latter’s disadvantage, he does so in order to reduce them immediately by evolutionary scheme: they (over there) are now even as we (here) were once …” (Todorov 166-167). Generally, it was only the Spanish who had the interpreters and therefore an understanding of their opponent, which gave them a distinct military advantage. Pp. It reads rather strangely (translated Polish -> French -> English) but has all sorts of eerie foreshadowing of 20th C. atrocities. Many words, especially in the religious vocabulary, represented concepts which simply did not exist in the native language. His analysis is eye opening in that he reveals an entirely different (non Western) way of looking at the invasion of the Spanish. It was just a myth. A bit slow and painful at times, but if you can barrage through it, you will definitely learn a lot. In order to propagate better Christianism he projected to write the history of the ancient Mexican religion. The Aztecs were too superstitious and basically just not smart enough to not be conquered by the Spaniards. Todorov was a Franco-Bulgarian historian, philosopher and literary theoretician. Todorov creates a loose typology of forms of intercultural interaction through an examination of both major and more minor figures from the Spanish conquest of Mexico. to the memory of a Mayan woman devoured by dogs,” to his epilogue statement that in America “the other remains to be discovered” (p. 247), Todorov challenges the reader to engage in a sophisticated semiotic interpretation of the conquest of Mesoamerica. Cortés had heard Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Free delivery in the US Read more here. However, as Todorov points out, “Asserting his own hybrid identity in confronting the beings his is trying to describe, he no longer succeeds in his project of comprehension, since he attributes to his characters thoughts and intentions which belong only to himself and to the other cultural hybrids of his time” (Todorov 217). His main conclusions focus on the differences in the way that Spaniards and Aztecs viewed and learned from. Tzvetan Todorov – The Conquest of America. Rather, the fall of Montezuma was inevitable. I still think about this book all the time and read it well over a yr ago now in class. x, 274. I always rate books based on how the book captured my attention. The Indians demonstrate little interest in material wealth not because they are lazy (as the Spanish ironically claimed), but rather because they possess a Christian morality (Todorov 165). A book review of Tzvetan Todorov's "The Conquest of America" grappling with its implications for America's War on Terror in the early 21st century. The first two chapters describe Columbus’ initial encounters with the “Indians” of America. I give it four stars not because I liked it so much, but because I recognize that it is well written and I cannot, "The Conquest of America" reveals the basically, the conquest of America, starting with Columbus, and then moving onto the wrath of Cortez and the Spaniards. It is interesting to consider that one of the primary goals, especially when encountering the native population, is the conversion to the Christian faith for the glory of God. We’d love your help. Initially, one can see Columbus nearly overwhelmed by the beauty of … 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 . The Conquest of America: The Question of the Other. Both were deeply committed to learning about the other. A classic in its field, The Conquest of America is a study of cultural confrontation in the New World, with implications far beyond sixteenth-century America. by University of Oklahoma Press. He insists that the Indians possess Christian traits; in fact, he professes that their “most characteristic feature is their resemblance to Christians” by using such descriptors as “humility,” “obedient,” and “peaceful” (Todorov 163). Baffled by the paradox of the famous story concerning Cortes and his several hundred Conquistador’s ability to defeat the entire Aztec empire, which numbered at least several million, Todorov reveals that it was primarily due to Montezuma’s belief that Cortes and his party were Gods, which led to his reluctance to raise an army in opposition. It is for this reason that he is so highly positioned on the epistemic axis. In fact, Las Casas often appears to view the Indians as superior to the Spaniards. 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. The Conquest of America is a fascinating study of cultural confrontation in the New World, with implications far beyond sixteenth-century America. Religious dedication and a greed for gold caused Columbus to exaggerate his claims of the amount of gold available and the cowardly nature of the native population. Among his most influential works is his theory on the fantastic, the uncanny and marvellous. almost like getting your shit together internally so to speak requires an external projection of violence. Barbarism is a relative notion as well. Initially, I thought of Columbus as someone primarily seeking gold for the glory of the King and Queen. Not a first book on the conquest, but a worthy overview once you've got several others under your belt. In terms of the built-in scale for valuing civilizations, then Indian civilization’s greatness lay in its ability to absorb diversity and make it its own. He creates vivid pictures that stand out in the imagination, colored by a “marvelous” descriptive style. Unfortunately we do not have a summary for this item at the moment. This is certainly an aspect of the book to be commended. Those that were different, in dress, culture, or religious beliefs, were beneath them and destined to be conquered or converted. So first the positive moves: "The Conquest of America" reveals the basically, the conquest of America, starting with Columbus, and then moving onto the wrath of Cortez and the Spaniards. . An unusual and fascinating historical study of the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs. (Todorov 233). If anyone was considered different to him, such as the Indians, they would be declared as inferior and be conquered or assimilated. Pp. Consequently, Las Casas is able to justify colonization on spiritual grounds, and maintains that it should be carried out by priests instead of soldiers. Definitely a very critical view of European colonization of the Americas. Watch for his generous use of others' voices, while never pretending to speak for others and without the conceit of removing his own voice from the narrative. It's not my area (at all) and there's a lot of theory to wade through, but the payoff is huge. ” (Todorov 103). It hinges on a pursuit of material goods, gold, and immaterial values, evangelical aspirations. Perhaps, due to the obvious problems for the Catholic Church that this represents, this motive has taken a backseat to the supposed thirst for gold that has overshadowed the religious roots of this horrific tragedy ever since. Todorov, a minor bureaucrat, knows nothing of Bulgaria, of France, or of Europe in general, so he becomes a specialist in the history of the Americas. Crimes against humanity in the name of any god seem to be a constant part of the human psyche. It's not my area (at all) and there's a lot of theory to wade through, but the payoff is huge. writing as a system of domination. Everything instantly becomes property of the Spanish Empire. The Conquest of America by Tzvetan Todorov, A Flair for the Dramatic/Selfish Machines by Pierce the Veil. The passages (filed under Love) on massacre and human sacrifice are amazing; the section (under Knowledge) on the last conversion of Las Casas argues compellingly that he is among the first people to achieve a modern understanding of cultural relativism, and that it is only at the end. The author gives a unique perspective on history - he is a linguist. All Columbus cared about was gold and spreading the Christian religion, which he believed he was destined to do. 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")). Todorov notes that “Not only do the questionnaires impose a European origin on American knowledge, and sometimes keep the relevant information from passing through. Refresh and try again. According to Tzvetan Todorov, then, while Las Casas refuses to condemn the Indians because they are different, he simultaneously refuses to admit that they are different (Todorov 167). Tzvetan Todorov examines the beliefs and behavior of the Spanish conquistadors and of the Aztecs. 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. By assuming the Indians’ equality, Las Casas fails to recognize their differences. After reading this book, I discovered that Columbus Day and all that it necessarily represents will never be seen in the same way again. What Cortes discovered was that the Tlaxcalans, a tribe which had been subsumed under the Aztec Empire, were still hostile enemies of the Aztecs. The Conquest of America is a fascinating study of cultural confrontation in the New World, with implications far beyond sixteenth-century America. Perhaps, that is one of the most dangerous luxuries of victory–the ability to show compassion for the defeated, but always, yet always too late. The Conquest of America: The Question of the Other by. As a result, Cortes was able to convince them to wage war against the Aztecs as the allies of the Spanish. Whereas for some the Christian principle of the equality of men ensues the assimilation of “Indians,” because they are similar to us, Las Casas tries to figure out the perspective of it. This is a driving force, primarily because the gold will serve as a future funding for the grand ideas of Columbus. scriptures and etc. Controlling information about the enemy was crucial as evidenced in both examples. In the 2nd half of the book The Conquest of America by Tzvetan Todorov, Todorov discusses Bartolome de Las Casas and Bernardino de Sahagun. This is a side of history that is seldom taught in textbooks, yet has become a classic in the field of Sociology and History. We're familiar with Columbus's discovery of the islands in the Caribbean and their Indians. His intimate acquaintance with Aztec culture is permits “a rapprochement with the object observed” (Todorov 217) and it is this positioning of himself in relation to the other that places Duran just barely on the positive side of the praxeological axis. The missionaries’ concern for the correct transmission of the Cathohc faith, “correct” meaning their own interpretation, was hard to reconcile with the fact that some of the basic words of the faith were untranslatable into the Indian tongue. TODOROV. The Conquest of America In the book The Conquest of America by Tzvetan Todorov, Todorov brings about an interesting look into the expeditions of Columbus, based on Columbus’ own writings. Todorov claims that “the effective conquest of information leads to the ultimate collapse of the Aztec empire. So many atrocities were committed in the name of God, especially in the name of Jesus Christ. 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 notes that, like Las Casas, Sahagun “adheres to the Christian doctrine of the equality of man” (Todorov 239), but it seems that Sahagun goes a step further: “The replacement of Aztec society by Spanish society is therefore a two-edged sword; and after having carefully weighed the pros and cons, Sahagun decides, more forcefully than Duran, that the final result is negative” (Todorov 237). Obviously the book talks about so much more and goes into the subtleties of multiple points of view. We're familiar with Columbus's discovery of the islands in the Caribbean and their Indians. This book takes an interesting tack in looking at the time of America's conquering and attempted assimilation into the European milieu. almost like getting your shit together internally so to speak requires an external projection of violence. In particular, he focuses on the work of three writers, all Spanish, but among the first generations of Europeans native to South America. ” More generally, he contended that western Europeans had a general “superiority in human communication,” demonstrated by the fact that they used alphabetic writing (Todorov 251). Hi there, would you like to get such a paper? March 15th 1999 The problem of translation was another which caused much dispute as to whether indoctrination should be done in Indian languages. Each of the four sections (Discovery, Conquest, Love, Knowledge) is interesting. Let us know what’s wrong with this preview of, Published Therefore, translators played an important role in the conquest; one which some scholars argue was the key factor in the Spanish victory. ” Todorov overlooks not only the generally religious framework of Las Casas’ prophesy, but also the particularly Western concept of justice. The book offers an original interpretation of the Spaniards’ conquest, colonization, and destruction of pre-Columbian cultures in … Duran occupies a similarly ambiguous position on the axiological axis: few people would likely agree that he loves the Indians, but he is forced to believe in their equality in order to make his putatively anti-syncretistic conversion possible (Todorov 207). Initially, one can see Columbus nearly overwhelmed by the beauty of these lands that he has encountered. Rather, the fall of Montezuma was inevitable. Spain conquered Iberian peninsula and the Americas in the same yr. the psychology of that. this was not a page turner but informative. Todorov creates a loose typology of forms of intercultural interaction through an examination of both major and more minor figures from the Spanish conquest of Mexico. This is certainly an aspect of the book to be commended. Gonna read it again... analyze it more... respond better... Read this for a political science class. This would appear to contradict Todorov’s later assertion that the axiological axis ranges from equality to inferiority, though Todorov notes on page 165 that “this inverted distribution of values, incontestable proof of his generosity of spirit, does not lessen the schematic of his vision. At a certain point in history in Russia people would answer to the obvious shortcomings of the Soviet system with something along the lines "...and in America they had slavery". The organization of the work is entirely European, as all is mediated through Sahagun’s eyes. One of the most undeveloped ideas in the discipline of the history of religions in America is the claim that the historical appearance of America in European consciousness provides a revolutionary opportunity for develop- ments in hermeneutics and religious studies. (Todorov 227) In the final part of the book, Todorov investigates the impact that these events have had on the subsequent writings on the subject. From the view of the prophets and holy men of the indigenous communities, the coming of the Spanish was not something to be fought. Each of the four sections (Discovery, Conquest, Love, Knowledge) is interesting. This places Las Casas on the positive axiological axis. Retrieved October 9, 2020, from https://newyorkessays.com/essay-the-conquest-of-america-by-tzvetan-todorov/, Save Time On Research and Writing. A brilliant book! Every December, as we wrap up our annual Goodreads Reading Challenge, we ask our book-loving colleagues a simple yet incredibly tough... To see what your friends thought of this book, [أريد قرأت الكتاب فهل حد يعرف اذا كان في منه نسخة مترجمة للعربي, The Conquest of America: The Question of the Other. Sometimes it is uncomfortable to look back through history and see the atrocities that have been committed by those that are thought of as civilized. Certainly thought provoking. Todorov puts forth one way of linking communication and conquest when he argued that Europeans conquered the Amerindians through their superior ability to understand the “Other. Todorov considers Duran and Sahagun, two chroniclers of conquest. Nonetheless, Todorov sees there the embryo to any future dialogue between civilizations that we today experience. We've read accounts of priests Christianizing the Indians and how the population was enslaved and decimated by disease. Sahagun is another example of a historian and chronicler who carefully recorded original accounts of their history in his monumental work The Florentine Codex. For him, cultures cannot be hybrid nor should they be; cultures stay in their own rights untouched. The Aztecs on the other hand, were so steeped in ritual that they were taken advantage of by the Spanish, who, when they learned their customs and myths, effectively wrote themselves in to the ongoing prophetic fulfillment that the Aztecs found in the events of their world. It advances a very provocative theory about the Spanish colonials' contact with natives after the discovery of America, and the destruction of their native cultures. Difficult reading. Watch Queue Queue. Hire a Professional to Get Your 100% Plagiarism Free Paper. Bartolome de Las Casas was one of the best known missionaries in Spanish America. And the question here what would have happened if spain hadn't entered the Americas . 1984. Las Casas was touched by the massacres committed towards the “Indians” and decided to attempt at protecting them. 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