Amid a self-similar stream of New Philology text presentations, additional perspectives on struggles initially following first contact, and book-length humanistic essays dealing with currently popular Western preoccupations and purporting, with limited success, to elucidate indigenous categories and cultures, Benjamin Johnson's analysis of the role of tlaxilacalli across four centuries in the eastern Basin of Mexico stands out as original, creative, and inviting of multidisciplinary engagement and collaboration. It serves as an exemplar of the productive use that can be made of certain aspects of the New Philology's output.

The Acolhuacan region, heartland of the small precontact empire of modern-day Texcoco, the Aztec second city, offers unmatched density of documentation, as well as archaeological and ethnographic information, for approximately the last millennium. Johnson joins those who have succeeded in assimilating this complexity while identifying important underlying principles within it. The purpose of this...

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