June Nash has been a prominent anthropologist for the past few decades. She has written extensively about contemporary Mayan communities in southern Mexico, but also about a variety of contemporary and ethnohistorical topics related to Mesoamerica or Latin America more generally, as with the current course reading.
Nash’s article, “Aztec Women,” was published as part of the collection Women and Colonization, edited by Mona Etienne and Eleanor Leacock. The collected articles of this book examined the effects of the transition to a global economic system and of colonialism around the world over the course of the past several centuries on women and gender relationships. Nash’s article focuses on this process in the context of the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire and the colonization of New Spain/Mexico.
Nash is also concerned here with two topics that could be considered for any cultural context: social production and reproduction, and culture change. She considers the role of gender, of women and men, in the production of economic goods and of persons (through socialization, for example) and in social reproduction (of people and of the conditions and materials for social production). She also writes of how gender roles in relation to social production and reproduction changed through time in the Aztec context, both in the century or so preceding the Spanish Conquest and in the Spanish Colonial period after that Conquest.
For more information on June Nash, see her faculty web page at the City University of New York.