The conquest of Mexico-Tenochtitlan in the early 16th century brought about changes that radically altered the city’s semi-aquatic environment. This talk will explore the ways in which indigenous knowledge of water management and control was used and archived after the epistemological break produced by Spanish colonization. Pantitlan, a natural drain in the middle of Lake Texcoco that acquired mythical status when water problems became too pressing to be ignored, serves as a metaphor for the Spanish authorities’ engagement with indigenous technologies.
Ivonne del Valle is an assistant professor in UC Berkeley’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese. She is currently researching the political, social and environmental implications of the drainage of Mexico City’s lakes from colonial times to the present.