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Our reserch embraces preconquest and postconquest ethnohistory, archaeology, anthropology and ethnolinguistcs of native Mesoamerica and Peru, with the special focus on the Nahuas, or Nahuatl-speaking communities of central Mexico. We are especially interested in different expressions of cross-cultural transfers and multi-faceted dialogues between Europe and the New World, which gave way to complex transformations, adaptations, and prolonged processes of communication, initiated in the era of discoveries and colonization and continuing to present day. We focus on boundary-breaking forms of collaboration between European/Western scholars and native researchers and students.  Of special interest for our team is also the relationship between academic research and revitalization of endangered languages, such as modern variants of Nahuatl.

Main research topics include:

  1. clash of cultures, resistance and accommodation; colonization in the light of negotiation and adaptation

  2. cross-cultural transfers between the indigenous and European worlds: language encounters, translations and translators, understandings and misunderstandings, the interplay of concepts and ideas

  3. language and culture change and resilience in the Nahua world (up to the present day)

  4. Eurocentrism and research paradigms in reconstructions of pre-Hispanic cultures of the Americas

  5. native concepts of the “barbarian,” “ savage,” “other,” also in confrontation with European ideas

  6. Nahuatl documents - translation and critical editions

  7. pictorial manuscripts of New Spain: between preconquest tradtions and European books

Our team members give university courses on topics closely related to our research projects and including the basic and advanced translatories/conversatories of colonial and modern Nahuatl.

Encounters Between the Old and New Worlds

Center for research on culture contact

Faculty of “Artes Liberales” University of Warsaw