Studies of honor have frequently looked to the escapades of men, duels, seductions, and the lost virginity of maidens rather than more serious topics. In an innovative approach, Osvaldo Pardo tackles honor from an ecclesiastical point of view. Using a wide variety of sources but privileging confession manuals and the writing of missionaries, Pardo examines the early period of contact between the indigenous peoples of New Spain and their conquerors in order to delineate the way that these interactions shaped colonial society. These exchanges were made more complicated because the religious personnel who guided much of the adaptation of the Nahuas to their new reality were frequently in conflict with the secular rulers. The author examines the places where these groups clashed over fundamental principles, conceptions of social organization, and values.

The concept of personhood is not explicitly defined, but essentially the...

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