Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Anthropology

Content Description

1 online resource (xiv, 261 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Louise M. Burkhart

Committee Members

Gail H. Landsman, Jennifer L. Burrell


Childrearing, Children studies, Colonial studies, Gender, Mesoamerican Studies, Nahuas, Child rearing, Children, Child development, Friars

Subject Categories

Latin American History | Latin American Studies


This dissertation illustrates the terms in which indigenous' conceptions of childrearing and childhoods were discussed and depicted in a Mesoamerican setting of the XVI Century. During this early colonial period, Nahuas from Central Mexico realized that Spanish colonizers were interested in learning about and transforming even the most intimate aspects of their lives, including the meaning of a girl and a boy of different ages, and the practices of childrearing. In the process, friars and Nahuas had agreements or experienced contradictions regarding how girls or boys should be raised. The analysis is based on ethnographic, ecclesiastic, and civil documents written in Nahuatl and Spanish by male Nahua scholars and Christian friars. I explore the sociocultural confrontation demonstrating that in this historical period, the discourses related to childrearing practices as well as childhood entered into a process that ended up in the transformation of indigenous practices and moral patterns, at least observed in the colonial discourses.