"Speaking with the fire": The Inquisition confronts mesoamerican divination to treat child illness in sixteenth-century Guatemala

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Indigenous midwives and female healers who treated infants and children in late-sixteenth-century Guatemala were medico-religious specialists who mediated the natural and supernatural realms to treat child illness. Their socially critical roles are examined through the lens of an Inquisition investigation in the tributary Maya town of Samayaq in colonial Central America into indigenous and mixed race women's use of divination as a strategy to treat child illness, and in particular mollera caída, or fallen fontanel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-176
Number of pages18
JournalEarly Science and Medicine
Volume23
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Guatemala
Central America
Midwifery
Lenses
Divination
Inquisition
Illness

Keywords

  • Child illness
  • Divination
  • Fallen fontanel
  • Female healers
  • Guatemala
  • Inquisition
  • Latin America
  • Maya Indians

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • History
  • History and Philosophy of Science

Cite this

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abstract = "Indigenous midwives and female healers who treated infants and children in late-sixteenth-century Guatemala were medico-religious specialists who mediated the natural and supernatural realms to treat child illness. Their socially critical roles are examined through the lens of an Inquisition investigation in the tributary Maya town of Samayaq in colonial Central America into indigenous and mixed race women's use of divination as a strategy to treat child illness, and in particular mollera ca{\'i}da, or fallen fontanel.",
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