Arbeitstitel des Postdoktorandenprojekts

"Unraveling Tarahumara perceptions of landscape through historical documents”

Betreuung: Prof. Dr. Ingrid Kummels


Landscape perceptions address matters related to identity, social memory and worldview. Based on an ethnohistorical methodological framework that recognizes the existence of a longue durée structure that encourages the analysis of thought systems and worldviews through time, the interest of this research project is to focus on those perceptions of the Tarahumara or Rarámuri (as they call themselves) people. This Native American people in northern Mexico were firstly mentioned in the 1600’s by the Jesuit missionaries who arrived as part of the Spanish conquest’s expansion project. They put down a considerable amount of detailed information concerning their lives, traditions and beliefs in writing. The aim of this research is to extract from these potentially rich sources (mainly Jesuit missionaries’ reports, accounts and grammars from the XVII and XVIII centuries) terminologies, stories, and oral narratives that voice Rarámuri’s landscape perceptions and practices. The proposal argues that this is possible by means of an ethnohistorical approach which integrates ethnographic research as part of the analytic tools and the inference that we are looking at long duration processes. The project aims at broadening our knowledge on Tarahumara worldview and cognition by exploring this people’s as well as the Jesuit’s landscape conceptions through time.