Katrina Casey Kosyk
Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationMcGill U.
Grant numberGr. 10229
Approve DateOctober 7, 2021
Project TitleKosyk, Katrina (McGill U.) "Communities of Sound Practice in Late Postclassic (1350-1519 C.E.) and Early Colonial (1519-1650 C.E.) Central Mexico"
Archaeology, like most humanities and social sciences, tends to over-rely on sight, and other sensory experiences are strikingly absent in reconstructions of the past. In Late Postclassic (1350-1519 C.E.) and Early Colonial (1519-1650 C.E.) central Mexico music was incorporated in all aspects of everyday life (e.g., celebrations, festivals, during childbirth, human sacrifices). Most importantly, music was a way to make mnemonic connections with people and events. Yet, in much archaeological interpretation in this region during this time, music-producing artifacts (e.g., musical instruments) are often conceptualized as unchanging, standardized, and lumped under ‘Aztec’ cultural expression. Consequently, the sound practices of various ethnolinguistic groups and less well-studied independent polities are absorbed into a sensorium shared across central Mexico. Given historical and archaeological evidence for significant cultural and technological changes during this period, I argue that we should instead expect a great deal of patterned variability in the production and use of music-related material culture that reveal important insight into musical values, aesthetic styles, and underlying conceptual structures pertaining to musical practices. To identify the extent of variability in the production and use of music-related material culture, I turn to two units of analyses: community of practice and community of engaged performance.