The emergence of interdisciplinary approaches is a positive development in Latin American studies. The exchange of ideas between historians, political scientists, economists, sociologists, and other scholars drives some of the most creative contemporary research and sparks some of the most groundbreaking discoveries. Yet, the blending of disciplines can prove to be as problematic as it is fruitful. Here, Robert M. Laughlin attempts an anthropological, linguistic, and historical analysis of a unique independence-era document in the hopes of better illuminating the links between Spain, Spanish America, and indigenous America at the close of the colonial period. The result, however, is a work whose anthropological and linguistic merits outshine its historical value.

Laughlin recounts his discovery of a Tzotzil-Maya text that proved to be an anonymous translation of an 1812 decree from the Spanish Council of Regency to the inhabitants of the colonies. The original...

You do not currently have access to this content.