In The Flower and the Scorpion Pete Sigal carries out fascinating and important research that embraces an interdisciplinary methodology based on current scholarly trends such as postcolonial studies and the New Philology in Mesoamerican ethnohistory studies, also tied to social history. Sigal analyzes a wealth of pre-Columbian and colonial written documentation in Nahuatl and Spanish to understand the Nahua worldview on sexuality before and after the Spanish colonization. Using his linguistic knowledge and his own translations, the author’s method for assessing the social and cultural changes brought about by the Spanish conquest is to listen to the discourses of indigenous commoners, which show the ways that colonialism intersects with the histories of sex and gender.

Sigal’s work is divided in eight chapters: “The Bath,” “Trash,” “Sin,” “The Warrior Goddess,” “The Phallus and the Broom,” “The Homosexual,” “Sex,” and “Mirrors.” These titles illustrate the...

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