Calling through the water jar: Domestic objects in Nahua emotional assemblages

Dominique Raby


This article re-examines human–object relations in an Indigenous Nahua context in Mexico. Inspired by the Deleuzian notion of assemblage, the study shifts the focus from the agency of objects to emphasize the emotions of human and nonhuman animals as “persons.” Artifacts like clothes and water jars emerge as intersubjective connectors that transfer human substance and voice in short-lived, but emotionally charged, domestic assemblages. The focus on quasi-plain domestic artifacts defines love, the Nahuas’ mode of relating, and motherhood, as central to their understanding while, more broadly, reframing the status of objects beyond anthropomorphism.


assemblage, objects, nonhuman animals, emotion, gender, agency, Nahua, Mexico

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/706762