Constructing History: the Inka and Spanish Empires through the Archaeology of the Huarochirí Manuscript (circa 1608)

by Illuminations: The Chancellor's Arts & Culture Initiative

Cultural Humanities UCI Illuminations

Fri, Jan 7, 2022

11 AM – 11:50 AM PST (GMT-8)

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Abstract: Between the 15th and 16th centuries, Andean communities experienced successive waves of colonialism, first by the Inka and then by the Spanish Empires. In this presentation, I build upon archaeological and historical research to explore how a local community voiced their experience of colonialism and how did they incorporate this experience within their own understandings of local collective history. I discuss the case of the people of Huarochirí in the Peruvian highlands. Huarochirí is the home of an outstanding colonial-period document known as the Huarochirí Manuscript. Compiled by indigenous assistants of a mestizo curate by 1608, the Manuscript was intended as a tool for the extirpation of idolatries. However, the Manuscript also embodies the unexpected consequences of colonialism, where a tool for oppression becomes a space for local agency. Through the scribe's stated goal of telling the history of the people of Huarochirí, I discuss my archaeological research in the region. Ultimately, I contend that notions of community and kinship built through ritual practices enabled the people of Huarochirí to tell a different history of colonialism through which their practices and traditions could endure.

Speaker: Carla Hernández Garavito, University of California, Santa Cruz

Image citation: An overlay of the site map of Canchaje (Huarochirí) traced by Dr. Hernández, over the first page of the facsimile edition of The Huarochiri Manuscript.

Sponsored by: UCI Illuminations, UCI Humanities Core, and UCI Latin American Studies

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