Selected Scholarship

“Popol Vuh and the Theory of Multiple Manuscripts.” Under submission

Although Popol Vuh is one of the foremost works of the Spanish-American colonial period, its provenance is an elusive subject. Misapprehensions of fact have led to tenuous theories that multiple eighteenth century manuscripts existed. This paper discusses the discursive dynamics of the colonial period and exposes the atrocious scholarship of Brasseur de Bourbourg whose conflicting statements are at the heart of the multiple manuscript model(s). This line of investigation leads to the conclusion that the sole surviving text of Popol Vuh is the original text composed by Father Francisco Ximénez at the turn of the eighteenth century.

Regarding the flying mast that the Indians used in their major festivals.” Iconic Mexico: An Encyclopedia from Acapulco to Zócalo. Ed. Eric Zolov. Vol. 2. Santa Barbara, USA: ABC-CLIO, 2015. 664-666. Trans. of “Del palo volador de que usaban estos indios en sus fiestas principales.” Monarquía Indiana. By Juan de Torquemada. Vol. 3. México: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1975-83. 434-437.

This translation of a seventeenth century text by Juan de Torquemada discusses the flying mast used by the Indians and the missionary attempts to end its practice.

(Re)writing (Hi)story.” Debunking The Maya Myth: Reassessing The Doomsday Prophecy. Valdosta State University Arts and Sciences Lecture Series. 6 October 2012.

This presentation examined the role of writing in shaping the historical record and (mis)informing popular understanding of Maya history.

Ma(r)king Popol Vuh.” Untying Tongues: Literatures in Minority or Minoritized Languages in Spain and Latin America. Spec. issue of Romance Notes. 51.1 (2011): 97-106. Print.

Joe Bray, Miriam Handley, and Anne C. Henry have argued that “to mark a text is also to make it; [and] features such as punctuation, footnotes, epigraphs, white space and marginalia, marks that traditionally have been ignored in literary criticism, can be examined for their contribution to a text’s meaning.” In 2007 The Newberry Library disbound the oldest surviving text of Popol Vuh for conservation. That process made it possible to examine a number of paratextual markers calling into question popular perspectives of Popol Vuh as Indian auto-ethnography. This refereed article published at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill seeks to raise modern awareness of the manuscript’s paratext and its meaning for traditional assumptions of Popol Vuh’s survival and its narrative/textual boundaries.

“Disparities of Discourse in Popol Vuh.” South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA) Annual Convention, 2009.

This conference paper examines Ximénez’s management of the dual textual and semiotic grids in his original eighteenth century transcription and translation of Popol Vuh.

The “most futile and vain” Work of Father Francisco Ximénez: Rethinking the Context of Popol Vuh. U. Alabama, 2009. Print.

My thesis examines Popol Vuh through the lens of Father Ximénez’s act of conservation. I challenge the long-dominant editorial treatment of Popol Vuh as a free-standing text and fully indigenous expression. The introduction and chapters examine the transatlantic influences that altered the perception of Father Ximénez’s manuscript, the provenance of the manuscript, Ximénez’s intended construction and concatenation of the treatises, and new perspectives on his ecclesiastic intent as both conservator and extirpator. The appendix contains full verbatim transcriptions of Ximénez’s prologues.