The Flight of the Shepherd
Microhistory and the psychology of cultural resilience in Bourbon Central Mexico
Boek 93 uit de serie Cedla Latin America Studies.
Three lines of argument are developed in this book. The first discusses the prospects of microhistory as an instrument for uncovering the relationship between culture and the personal experience of an individual in historical documents. The second follows its theoretical underpinnings, arguing in clinical terms what may look like -thick theorization to many historians and ethnohistorians: that in our contemporary academies, only cognitive science can be the leading approach to answer the question of the relationship between culture and an individual's experiences. Cognitive science studies internal mental processes like memory, attitudes, motivation, reflection. It has shown that the brain's guesses of what is happening around it are based on an extensive, unconscious system of conceptual metaphor that is part of our everyday conceptual systems, and that can be thought of as a kind of -language of the unconscious. The third argument addressed brings the others together in the specific case of conscious dreaming, as can be recognized in the documents of Mexican cult leader Ant n the Shepherd and his movements from 1759-61. In particular, it interprets a flight to Purgatory, one of Ant n's experiences. The unfolding of the three arguments, intertwined as they are eventually, should help to deepen the understanding of the ways in which Ant n the Shepherd operated within the eighteenth century Central Mexican colonial milieu, with his experiences in Purgatory illustrating the cultural resilience of Amerindian peoples in the region.