Abstract

In 1805, the pueblo of Tultitlan fell victim to an ostensibly mysterious new plague. After a year of curative treatment, it spread across what is now Mexico State, prompting urban officials to authorize the use of smallpox vaccination—an intervention that elicited fierce debate steeped in tensions around Indigeneity, religion, and parental rights. Drawing on newspapers and other colonial records, the article examines how different Nahua families responded, centering their concerns and expectations—of immunization and religious and public health officials—to reframe critical questions about the gender and racial politics of vaccine history and its contested relationship to colonial rule.

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