Tuesday, March 31, 2020

500 year-old journal of mexican life during pandemic

Almost 500 years ago, "European colonization (of the Americas) shattered the old indigenous order through war, settlement and, most notably, disease."  An estimated 90% -- that is, nine out of every ten people -- lost their lives, which is why some refer to that time as "The Great Dying."

During this time in Mexico, amid a series of pandemics, a group of scholars sealed themselves off in a convent and wrote the indigenous history of their people.  You can read The Los Angeles Times article about their work here.

Beginning today, I encourage you to journal about your experiences during the coronavirus pandemic.  I will continue to offer journal topics that relate to our shared reading, and I will also include a note that reminds you of this opportunity.

Writing things down is important. As we talked about last semester, people even see their food and their time use differently when they record the facts in writing.  Don't be lazy -- your memory is unreliable.  When you think about it, what can you remember about what you did every day last week?  What your little sister said to make you smile, or what your family ate for dinner, or how you felt about what's going on?  In a few short (months? years?) the coronavirus pandemic will be a story -- a history -- just like 9/11 or World War II.  Unlike those events, however, for you this is not just history.  This will be YOUR history.

Get a pen, right now, find a notebook or a piece of paper, and capture this moment so that your grandchildren don't have to rely on someone else's version to understand what these days are like.

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