College Grants & Sponsored Programs

Mosquera Awarded NEH Scholarly Editions and Scholarly Translations Grant

Publication Date
Daniel Mosquera Head Shot

$47,630 (Union), $146,179 (total); National Endowment for the Humanities – Scholarly Editions and Scholarly Translations

Passion Plays of Eighteenth-Century Mexico: Nahuatl and Spanish Festival Performances Under the Eye of the Inquisition
Co-Project Director: Daniel Mosquera, professor of Spanish, Hispanic, and Latin American and Caribbean studies and current chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures

Since the XVI Century, both Indigenous and Spanish-speaking residents of colonial Mexico put on performances of the Passion of Christ, creating locally embodied enactments of this core Christian narrative. Always embroiled in disputes over religious authority and orthodoxy, these staged spectacles fell under stricter censure in the mid-eighteenth century, as church authorities added an Enlightenment-inspired disdain for emotive display to their distrust of popular — especially Indigenous — religion. This collaborative digital publication project illuminates this facet of Mexican religious history by providing open, multilingual access to four confiscated Spanish plays and related reports from an Inquisition investigation (1768–70), and to six Nahuatl-language plays from the same era. English translations and paleographic and standardized transcriptions will be hosted, as well as ethnographic videos filmed in the same region and interviews with contemporary participants who continue this Passion play tradition until today. Essays on each play and themes that crosscut the corpus will orient users with respect to inter-connections and context and suggest further possibilities for research and student projects.

In addition to Co-Project Director Mosquera, the Passion Plays of Eighteenth-Century Mexico collaborative project team includes: Project Director Louise M. Burkhart, professor and former chair of the Department of Anthropology and former director of the Institute for Mesoamerican Studies at the University at Albany; Abelardo de la Cruz de la Cruz, Nahuatl native speaker and doctoral student in the Department of Anthropology at the University at Albany; Rebecca Dufendach, PhD, research specialist and digital design expert, Getty Research Institute; and Nadia Marin-Guadarrama, PhD, associate researcher in the Department of Anthropology at the University at Albany.