The Darker Side of the Renaissance: Literacy, Territoriality, and Colonization

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University of Michigan Press, 2003 - History - 463 pages
The Darker Side of the Renaissance weaves together literature, semiotics, history, historiography, cartography, and cultural theory to examine the role of language in the colonization of the New World. Exploring the many connections among writing, social organization, and political control, including how alphabetic writing is linked with the exercise of power, Walter D. Mignolo claims that European forms of literacy were at the heart of New World colonization. It has long been acknowledged that Amerindians were at a disadvantage in facing European invaders because native cultures did not employ the same kind of texts (hence "knowledge") that the Europeans valued. Yet no one but Mignolo has so thoroughly examined either the process or the implications of conquest and destruction through language. The book continues to challenge commonplace understandings of New World history and to stimulate new colonial and postcolonial scholarship.
Walter D. Mignolo is Professor in the Department of Romance Studies and the Program in Literature, Duke University.

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Nebrija in the New World Renaissance Philosophy of Language and the Spread of Western Literacy
The Materiality of Reading and Writing Cultures The Chain of Sounds Graphic Signs and Sign Carriers
Record Keeping without Letters and Writing Histories of People without History
Genres as Social Practices Histories Enkyclopaideias and the Limits of Knowledge and Understanding
The Movable Center Ethnicity Geometric Projections and Coexisting Territorialities
Putting the Americas on the Map Cartography and the Colonization of Space
On Modernity Colonization and the Rise of Occidentalism
Afterword to the Second Edition

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About the author (2003)

Walter D. Mignolo is William H. Wannamaker Professor of Literature, Cultural Anthropology and Romance Studies and Director of the Center for Global Studies and the Humanities at Duke University.

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