UBC Theses and Dissertations
Naturaleza, indígenas e imperio en Noticias de Nutka (1793) de José Mariano Mociño Moguel Aquino, Luis Enrique
The following thesis offers an interpretation of Noticias de Nutka, written by José Mariano Mociño, after he visited Nootka, on the Western coast of Vancouver Island. Mociño was a Mexican naturalist in the team of the Royal Scientific Expedition to New Spain organised in 1792 by the Spaniard crown to explore the territories beyond California, which were considered as part of its domains. The book, prepared in the next year (1793), is the most complete approach of its time to the area’s people and culture in Spanish literature and can be considered as part of the testimonial corpus of first European-Indigenous encounters on the Canadian Pacific coast, besides the most known texts by James Cook or George Vancouver. This study focuses on the representation of nature and natives of Nootka and analyses the apparent contradiction between the goals of the scientific mission and Mociño’s recommendation for the Europeans powers to prevent colonizing the Northwest coast. By discussing those elements, the thesis explores the relation between the discourses of natural history and Spanish imperialism at the end of the Eighteenth Century. The interpretative proposal developed by Mary Louise Pratt in her book Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation serves as the main theoretical framework for the analysis presented here, although I show how it needs to be modified when applied to Mociño’s context. In sum, the thesis reveals the “colonial ambiguity” that distinguishes Mociño’s positionalities in relation to his subject of study and Spanish imperial expansion, considering that feature as part of the construction of scientific discourse and Creole identity in New Spain.
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