Humanities 110

Introduction to the Humanities

Paper Topics | Spring 2022 | Paper 5

Due Saturday, Februrary 12, 5:00 p.m., to your conference leader. 

Target length: 1,800-2,000 words

Choose one of the following topics:

  1. Both the Codex Mendoza (Facsimiles of folios 18v-19r, 37v-38r, 45v-46r) and the Apadana processional frieze at Persepolis depict tributary relationships. Compare how the politics, economics, ecology and culture of each empire is represented in these depictions.

  1. In the Tira de la Peregrinación or the Codex Mendoza, how do the particular signs and symbols themselves communicate visions of community, of political authority, of the divine, of space and time, and/or of other important features? Be sure to analyze at least one folio in detail and at least one sign as it appears across your chosen text.
  1. Some scholars argue that the Tira de la Peregrinación remains unfinished, while others argue that it does come to a conclusion. Drawing on patterns in the visual detail, craft an argument for one position over the other. Make sure to respond to the evidence against your position as well as the evidence for it. 

  1. How are power, gender and sexuality conceptualized in the poem "Warrior Women of Chalco"? 

  2. Compare the accounts of the death of Moctezuma and the Spanish flight from Tenochtitlán in The Florentine Codex and in Bernal Díaz’s The Conquest of New Spain. How do they differ in their understanding of the events? You might focus on the causes of the battle and its outcome, the agency of different actors, internal politics among the Spanish and the Tenochca, military strategy, or any other particular aspects of the engagement and the texts.

  3. Compare the representation of Tenochtitlán in the frontispiece of the Codex Mendoza, to that of the Nuremberg Map. How do they coincide, and how do they differ, in the elements of the city that they emphasize? What differences do these suggest in how they understand the altepetl’s relationship with others, its political and religious organization, and the understanding of urbanity?

  4. The “Birth of Huitzilopochtli,” Theogony and “Horus and Seth” emphasize the sexual generation of the gods and violence among them. Compare the Aztec origin myth to one of the other two with attention to similarities and differences in how they treat competition and alliance among the gods.