José Pardo-Tomás

Conversion medicine. Communication and circulation of knowledge in the Franciscan convent and college of Tlatelolco, 1527-1577

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Tlatelolco was perhaps one of the most emblematic spaces of the circulation of knowledge among people living in Sixteenth-Century New Spain. The article sets out to analyse the role played by Tlatelolco in the formation and circulation of medical knowledge and of certain healing practices intended to alleviate the enormous problems facing the health of the population caused by the so-called 'encounter' between the European and the Mesoamerican worlds. Reconstructing the formation of knowledge in situ enable us to offer a dynamic vision of determinate processes of communication, paying attention to specific contexts, specific actors and forms of the production of knowledge, analysed in their singularity and not just as a result of some 'encounter' between cultures. The aim is to bring out the various types of communication dynamics that create the physical space of Tlatelolco, conceived as the articulation of a plurality of social spaces in mutual tension, in order to try to renew a historical interpretation of cultural exchange in a space strongly conditioned by the programme of conversion to Christianity imposed on the Mesoamerican population by the Franciscans.

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