Interpretation of Iconography and Iconography of Interpretation: Uncovering La Malinche
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In historiography, the interpreters or translators who accompanied the principal actors in historic events have scarce presence in written or visual accounts. La Malinche, an interpreter during the Spanish conquest of today's Mexico, is an exception to this. She is one of the most represented cultural icons in history. This thesis looks at La Malinche's representations in texts and images produced in the 16th century and from the 18th to 21st centuries. It puts those two semiotic modes in dialogue, exploring how they inform or contradict each other. To do so, I draw on Erwin Panofsky and María Calzada Pérez. La Malinche's representation during the 16th century reflects how she was used as a symbol in the dominant Spanish discourse during that time. Her representation from the 18th century onwards speaks to how she was resignified and what purpose she served in the emerging nation building process in Mexico.