Indigenous communities in Mexico have intrigued generations of historians and anthropologists and have influenced the conceptualization of agrarian “folk” or “peasant” communities worldwide. Since at least the 1940s ethnographers have lived and worked in Mesoamerican communities, observing cultures in their own day while imagining the preconquest past.1 In the last three decades especially, historians have used both Spanish- and native-language sources from the colonial period to analyze the internal organization of indigenous communities, considering how these structures survived in altered yet recognizable forms after the Spanish conquest.2 In the past, both historical and anthropological studies focused on corporate communities such as the Nahua altepetl (local ethnic state), Maya cah, and the undifferentiated pueblo of modern Mexico; however, findings from the two disciplines are not usually integrated or even compared.3 In contrast to previous research, this article uses a variety of...

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