London Andean Studies Seminar | Promoting research and debate that connects specialized Andean and Area Studies scholarship with global and theoretical questions

Past Events

2016-2017 (YEAR TWO)

October 12

Professor Rebecca Earle (University of Warwick)

The Potato and The Enlightenment

In this first autumn 2016 session of the London Andean Studies Seminar, Rebecca Earle shares her ongoing research on the global history of that irrepressible Andean gift to the world, the potato.

The potato, insisted 18th-century Spanish savants, was a ‘precious fruit’, a panacea against poverty and dearth, a source of state strength and security.  Enormous effort was therefore invested in promoting its consumption in Europe, as part of larger campaigns to improve national health and productivity.  Comparable enlightened campaigns were launched in Europe’s American colonies.  Via the geographically-mobile new world potato, this paper contrasts colonial and metropolitan visions of health, nutrition and science to help rethink the Americas’ place in the global Enlightenment.

November 2

Dr Natalia Sobrevilla (University of Kent)

The military and state making in nineteenth-century Peru

The armed forces in nineteenth-century Peru were pivotal in the creation of the post-colonial state. The military was no improvised band of armed men; instead it was an institution that straddled from the colonial to the independent period. This presentation covers some of the main points the book I am currently writing based on the study of a wide variety of previously unutilised sources from the military archive allows for a view not just of the upper echelons, but also of the rank and file, including Indians, African descendants and women.

November 16

Dr Adrian Pearce (UCL)

Reindigenisation and the Economy in the Andes during the Nineteenth Century

A striking tendency in recent historical writing on the nineteenth-century Andes is that which discusses the phenomenon of reindigenisation. This phenomenon was first understood exclusively in demographic terms, when it was noted that the nineteenth century represented the only period since the Spanish conquest in the sixteenth century when the process of national mestizaje was halted across several decades, and the indigenous population not only grew strongly in absolute terms, but even recovered marginally as a proportion of the whole. In the past few years, studies of reindigenisation have gone beyond the demographic aspect, to explore what Paul Gootenberg called its “compelling historical and anthropological implications”. Thus, historians have begun to explore the consequences of a greater indigenous presence in national life, in the political, cultural, and economic spheres. Drawing on the speaker’s current wide-ranging project on reindigenisation, this talk aims to contribute to these debates with a fresh look at the economic dimension to reindigenisation in Peru and Bolivia, based primarily on travellers’ accounts.

February 1

Elena McGrath (University of Wisconsin and ILAS)

Who Killed Justa de Mamani? Gendered Violence and Worker Citizenship in the Bolivian National Revolution

This paper explores the social life of Bolivian mining camps during the 1950s and 1960s as a means of understanding the impact of the Bolivian National Revolution on the lives of some of its most celebrated participants: miners and their families. In these years, the Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario used the nationalized mining company, COMIBOL, to expand state presence into rural areas through company stores, schools, and hospitals while offering unprecedented local power to young men affiliated with the national miners’ federation. Both of these changes created new avenues for economic and social power for men and women affiliated with the mines, resulting in conflicts among neighbours and within families. Based on archival research into judicial and company records, this paper uses conflicts over legitimate violence and sexuality in mining camps to explore the limits of the social and political community created by the MNR revolution, suggesting ways in which these intimate disputes helped lay the groundwork for counterrevolutionary military violence in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

March 1

Henry Stobart (Royal Holloway, University of London) and Michelle Bigenho (Colgate, USA)

Charango Wars: Heritage Lives of an Andean Instrument

The charango is a small, mandolin-like instrument that is widely played in the Andean countries of Bolivia, Peru, and parts of Chile and Argentina. Its high, sweet, and seductive sounds, however, belie the bitter enmities that surround proprietary claims to its origins. War and seduction appear hand in hand, whether in rural battles of courtship, where young men vie with their charangos to seduce young women, or in international heritage conflicts over charango sovereignty as played out over the media. Drawing on Appadurai’s idea of ‘the social life of things,’ we chart the heritage lives of the charango, working primarily from the Bolivian context. The paper follows how the charango moves in and out of heritage frames that are shaped by local, regional, national, and international (UNESCO) dynamics. This means that ‘heritage’ is not something to be taken for granted. Charango as both object and multiple performance styles, vividly reveals the tensions between what UNESCO has referred to as tangible and intangible heritage. These charango heritage stories play out in the highly transformative moment surrounding the rise to power of Bolivia’s first indigenous president, Evo Morales.

March 15

Dr. Christine Mathias (Lecturer in Modern Latin American History, King’s College London)

Thanks to God, Juan, and Evita: Indigenous Leaders, Peronism, and the Argentine Nation-State

In Argentina, many indigenous people have fond memories of President Juan Peron and his second wife Evita, even though Peron himself did little to promote indigenous rights. This paper draws on original archival research to show how indigenous leaders in the 1940s and 1950s embraced the rhetoric of Peronism and the principles of populism. These leaders’ political engagement helped to integrate their followers into the Argentine nation-state. It also promoted the spread of evangelical Christianity in some communities. By examining the actions of such understudied intermediaries, we can begin to understand populism’s enduring, paradoxical appeal.

May 10

A Conversation about the Contemporary Art Scene in the Andes

Dr. Giuliana Borea (PUCP, ILAS) with Pamela Cevallos, Manuel Kingman (PUCE) and William Lopez (UNC)

This event will explore the art scenes in Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, with a particular emphasis on the connections between anthropology, art and museums. Cevallos is the author of La Intransigencia de los Objetos, and a founder member of the interdisciplinary group la-scolaris.  Kingman is the author of Arte contemporaneo y cultura popular: el caso de Quito (FLACSO, 2012), and member of the Collective La Selecta.  Lopez has been Director of the Museo de Arte de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia, as well as co-founder and director of the MA Program in Museology and Cultural Heritage there.

May 31

Sarah Radcliffe (University of Cambridge)

Producing Knowledges, Producing Pachamama: Andean Indigenous Politics in post-neoliberal Ecuador

With the 2008 Constitution declaring the rights of indigenous peoples and of nature, Ecuador positioned itself at odds with mainstream politics. Yet in the decade since the election of Alianza Pais, the dynamics between indigeneity, Pachamama/nature and politics remain troubled and antagonistic. This paper explores how we might begin to frame and understand the ways by which central Andean kichwa speakers demarcate the forms of knowledge and agency through which they engage in contesting marginalization.

June 2

LAGLOBAL/LASS ROUNDTABLE WORKSHOP

PROGRAMME

10:00 to 13:00 MORNING SESSION

TOPICS: What is the History of Knowledge, understood as a field? How and why should we engage this field from Latin America? What kinds of histories of knowledge should we be writing?

First round, followed by open discussion:

Peter Burke (Cambridge), Nicola Miller (UCL), Rebecca Earle (Warwick), Mark Thurner (ILAS).

Second round, followed by open discussion:

Sabine Hyland (St Andrews), Mina Kleiche-Dray (IRD-Universite de Paris V), Christine Mathias (KCL), and Giuliana Borea (PUCP, ILAS), Tristan Platt (St Andrews).

13:00 LUNCH

14:00 to 17:00 AFTERNOON SESSION

TOPICS: What is Indigenous Knowledge? What is Local Knowledge? What is Global Knowledge?

Third round, followed by open discussion:

Sabine Hyland (St Andrews), Mina Kleiche-Dray (IRD-Universite de Paris V), Christine Mathias (KCL), and Giuliana Borea (PUCP, ILAS), Tristan Platt (St Andrews).

Fourth round, followed by open discussion:

Peter Burke (Cambridge), Nicola Miller (UCL), Rebecca Earle (Warwick), Mark Thurner (ILAS).

 

2015-2016 (YEAR ONE)

October 14

Professor Tristan Platt (University of Saint Andrews)

From the Curaca’s Point of View: Indian Administration and Political Strategies in Macha (Bolivia), 1930-1964

In this inaugural session of the Andean Studies Seminar, ethnohistorian Tristan Platt explores the inner political logic of a twentieth-century Bolivian Curaca’s personal tributary archive.

October 28

Dr. Maya Stanfield-Mazzi (University of Florida)

Weaving and Tailoring the Andean Church

The first Christian churches were built in the Andes soon after Spaniards arrived. Initially simple structures, they were later remodelled into large stone monuments. Aside from their architectural construction, the furnishing and decoration of these churches was an ongoing project that involved many participants, often under the watchful eye of a parish priest. Art historians have uncovered fascinating cases where native artists exercised agency in creating works to be displayed in church interiors, many of which expressed Andean as well as Christian beliefs. This scholarship has focused primarily on the art forms of painting and sculpture, which were very visible within the church, especially in cases such as baptism murals. An underappreciated yet equally notable aspect of church decoration was textiles. Throughout the colonial period churches were abundantly adorned with “church clothing,” textile ornaments meant to cover floors, walls, and altars as well as clothe church functionaries and religious statuary. This seminar will present and discuss the significance of such “clothing.”

November 11

Professor Peter Wade (University of Manchester)

Liberalism and its Contradictions: Democracy and Hierarchy in Mestizaje and Genomics in Latin America

Liberalism entails contradictions between democracy and hierarchy.  In Latin America, those contradictions are handled in a specific way (in relation to race, but with wider implications), using ideology and practices of mestizaje seen as an antidote to hierarchies of race and also class. How does mestizaje work in this way? It does so by deploying the idea of sexual intimacy and family across racial borders; and secondarily by temporal and spatial othering. Multiculturalism is a recent variant on this theme, as well as a departure from it. Genomics reiterates this story strongly, with new aspects added.

December 2

Dr. Bill Sillar (University College London)

Constructing Empire: The Building and Rebuilding of the Inca Imperial Capital in Cuzco

Cuzco was the capital of the Inca Empire.  The architecture and plan of Cuzco are usually explained as following a unified design that provided palaces for the Inca ruler and a theatre for Inca state rituals.  Cuzco was clearly a ‘planned’ settlement, and many archaeologists have accepted a ‘short history’ which attributes Cuzco’s entire plan to the 9th Inca, Pachakuti.   While Cuzco did not have the organic growth associated with the development of a market town, it must have been altered under successive Inca rulers to accommodate a growing population of Inca elite, to facilitate the needs of an expanding empire, and utilise an expanding labour force.  However, it is difficult to identify evidence of phasing within the Inca period (partly due to Spanish Colonial and later remodelling within the city).   In this paper, we will explain how we are building on previous research by mapping variations in the style and location of wall construction and analysing the choice of building stone.  We will suggest a tentative sequence for Inca constructions in Cuzco and discuss what this could imply with regard to Inca state development and the social organisation of the city. In this session, Dr. Sillar will present findings based on collaborative research with Alexei Vranich (UCLA), Dennis Ogburn (University of North Carolina at Charlotte) and Kaela Bleho (UCL).

February 10

Professor Jorge Canizares-Esguerra (University of Texas at Austin, Leverhulme Visiting Professor, ILAS) and Dr. Mark Thurner (ILAS)

Decolonising the History of Andean Historical Writing, Part I

Early modern Andean historiography was not the scholastic colonial backwater that the Eurocentric history of historiography wants you to believe.  In this seminar, Cañizares-Esguerra and Thurner decolonize master narratives of early modern historiography, presenting new critical perspectives on Andean historical writing in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

February 24

Dr. Sabine Hyland (University of St Andrews)

Of Colours, Buttons and Papel sellado: Julio C. Tello and the Khipus of Huarochiri Province, Peru

New evidence from the Tello archive in Lima has revealed unpublished transcriptions of Tello’s interview with an active khipukamayoq from Anchucaya, a village in Huarochiri Province.  In these notes, Tello, whose belief about the role of khipus in the Inka state was deeply influenced by his mentor Ricardo Palma, presents a clear explanation for how khipus recorded ayllu labour contributions, an aspect of khipu numeracy that has remained little understood until now.  Tello’s evidence provides the first known expert description for how labour obligations and social groups were accounted on Inka-style khipus. This evidence for khipu grammatology reveals new insights into how people, things and tasks were conceptualised on khipus, providing a cautionary note to attempted khipu reconstructions.

March 16

Decolonising Andean Studies

Round Table discussion moderated by Dr. Mark Thurner (ILAS), with special guests: Professor James Sanders (Utah State University), Dr. Federica Morelli (University of Turin), Professor Francisco Ortega (National University of Colombia), Dr. Natalia Sobrevilla (University of Kent), Dr. Lina del Castillo (University of Texas at Austin, Visiting Research Fellow, SAS/ILAS), and Professor Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra (University of Texas at Austin, Leverhulme Visiting Professor, ILAS)

May 4

Dr. Lina del Castillo (University of Texas at Austin, Visiting Research Fellow, SAS/ILAS)

Great Britain’s Grand Colombia

This talk examines how between the 1780s and early 1800s a small but influential transatlantic Spanish American community cleverly built upon Anglo imaginaries of the region as one desperately longing to be set free from a Spanish Monarchy that held it back from entering modernity. Venezuela’s native son, Francisco de Miranda, long resident in London, most adeptly sold this revised Spanish American vision of a continental Colombia back to the British and the Anglo-Americans, promising big payoffs, but he was not the only one to do so. The several failed invasions meant that Miranda never got to see his overstretched and utopian Colombian continental space emerge as an independent polity. Nevertheless, Miranda’s Colombia did quicken the pace with which British capital and ships engaged with the region, from the River Plate to Mexico City, much to Anglo America’s chagrin.

May 18

Professor Jorge Canizares-Esguerra (University of Texas at Austin, Leverhulme Visiting Professor, ILAS) and Dr. Mark Thurner (ILAS)

Decolonising the History of Andean Historical Writing, Part II

Modern Andean historiography was not the dependent ‘offspring of Europe’ that the Eurocentric history of historiography wants you to believe.  In this seminar, Canizares-Esguerra and Thurner decolonize master narratives of modern historiography, presenting new critical perspectives on Andean historical writing in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

June 8

New Research on the History of Andean Anthropology and History

Round Table discussion moderated by Dr. Mark Thurner (ILAS), with special guests:  Professor Eli­as Palti (University of Buenos Aires), Dr. Mercedes Prieto (FLACSO-Ecuador), Dr. Julia Rodriguez (University of New Hampshire), Dr. Cristina Soriano (Villanova University), Dr. Lina del Castillo (University of Texas at Austin, Visiting Research Fellow, SAS/ILAS), and Professor Jorge Canizares-Esguerra (University of Texas at Austin, Leverhulme Visiting Professor, ILAS).