New Philology is a school within philology and ethnohistory that seeks to describe the history of an era using the written sources of a culture to understand their perspective of their own history. It has been particularly applied to studying the history of colonized people by using the colonized peoples' own written sources, but has also been applied in other disciplines such as medieval studies. The New Philology of colonial literature focuses on the translation and interpretation of sources written in the colonized peoples' own languages - sources that have often been neglected due to their difficult accessibility. Important historians working in the New Philology tradition are James Lockhart, Susan Schroeder, Matthew Restall, Stephanie Wood and Robert Haskett.
The school was developed from the 1970s and onwards, reaching maturity only recently. The leading figure in the early development of the New Philological historiographical approach was James Lockhart who, in the early 1970s, began studying sources in the Nahuatl language that had previously not been studied by historians. Rather than trying to reach knowledge about events in the colonial or pre-colonial period from studying the sources, as was the usual approach, he attempted to achieve understanding about the indigenous societies that produced the sources. This approach made possible the use of sources that had earlier been deemed to be too difficult to understand or too problematic to interpret, e.g. the documents known as Primordial titles, colonial legal documents in the Nahuatl language, testaments and acts of the colonial administration.
Lauren Lambert Jennings explicitly applied techniques from New Philology to the study of European Song texts quoting their "central premise [as] the idea that codex is not merely a neutral container for its texts." She continues by saying that the New Philologists and scholars of "textual cultures" "posit that a work's meaning (literary and cultural) is determined by the entire manuscript matrix — its physical form, contents, scribe(s), readers, and history."
A selection of important works written in the New Philology tradition:
- The Book of Tributes: Early Sixteenth-Century nahuatl Censuses from Morelos. S. L. Cline, (Ed.), 1993, Museo de Antropología e Historia, Archivo Histórico Collección Antigua, vol. 549. UCLA Latin American Center Publications
- Indigenous Rulers: An Ethnohistory of Indian Town Government in Colonial Cuernavaca, Robert Haskett, 1991, University of New Mexico Press.
- Visions of Paradise: Primordial Titles and Mesoamerican History in Cuernavaca, 2005, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.
- Nahuatl in the Middle Years: Language contact Phenomena in Texts of the Colonial Period, Frances Karttunen & James Lockhart, 1976, University of California Press, Berkeley, California.
- Nahuas and Spaniards:Postconquest Central Mexican History and Philology, James Lockhart, 1991, Stanford University Press, UCLA Latin American Center Publications
- Transcending conquest: Nahua Views of Spanish Colonial Mexico, Stephanie Wood, 2003,University of Oklahoma Press, Norman: USA
- Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest, Matthew Restall, 2003 Oxford University Press (2003) ISBN 0-19-516077-0
- M. J. Driscoll, "Creating the medieval saga: Versions, variability, and editorial interpretations of Old Norse saga literature," ed. Judy Quinn & Emily Lethbridge (Odense: Syddansk Universitetsforlag, 2010), pp. 85-102, online at 
- Lauren Lambert Jennings, "Tracing Voices: Song as Literature in Late Medieval Italy" (Ph.D. dissertation: University of Pennsylvania, 2012), p. 42, online at 
- Restall, Matthew, "A History of the New Philology and the New Philology in History", Latin American Research Review - Volume 38, Number 1, 2003, pp. 113–134
- James Lockhart, Lisa Sousa, and Stephanie Wood (eds.), Sources and Methods for the Study of Postconquest Mesoamerican Ethnohistory, Provisional Version hosted by the Wired Humanities Project at the University of Oregon (2007).