Winner, PROSE Award, Biological Anthropology, Ancient History, & Archaeology, Association of American Publishers (AAP), 2018 Inka khipus—spun and plied cords that record information through intricate patterns of knots and colors—constitute the only available primary sources on the Inka empire not mediated by the hands, minds, and motives of the conquering Europeans. As such, they offer direct insight into the worldview of the Inka—a view that differs from European thought as much as khipus differ from alphabetic writing, which the Inka did not possess. Scholars have spent decades attempting to decipher the Inka khipus, and Gary Urton has become the world's leading authority on these artifacts. In Inka History in Knots, Urton marshals a lifetime of study to offer a grand overview of the types of quantative information recorded in khipus and to show how these records can be used as primary sources for an Inka history of the empire that focuses on statistics, demography, and the "longue durée" social processes that characterize a civilization continuously adapting to and exploiting its environment. Whether the Inka khipu keepers were registering census data, recording tribute, or performing many other administrative tasks, Urton asserts that they were key players in the organization and control of subject populations throughout the empire and that khipu record-keeping vitally contributed to the emergence of political complexity in the Andes. This new view of the importance of khipus promises to fundamentally reorient our understanding of the development of the Inka state and the possibilities for writing its history.
This comprehensive reference offers an authoritative overview of Andean lifeways. It provides valuable historical context, and demonstrates the relevance of learning about the Andes in light of contemporary events and debates. The volume covers the ecology and pre-Columbian history of the region, and addresses key themes such as cosmology, aesthetics, gender and household relations, modes of economic production, exchange, and consumption, postcolonial legacies, identities, political organization and movements, and transnational interconnections. With over 40 essays by expert contributors that highlight the breadth and depth of Andean worlds, this is an essential resource for students and scholars alike.
A groundbreaking work on how the topic of scale provides an entirely new understanding of Inca material culture Although questions of form and style are fundamental to art history, the issue of scale has been surprisingly neglected. Yet, scale and scaled relationships are essential to the visual cultures of many societies from around the world, especially in the Andes. In Scale and the Incas, Andrew Hamilton presents a groundbreaking theoretical framework for analyzing scale, and then applies this approach to Inca art, architecture, and belief systems. The Incas were one of humanity's great civilizations, but their lack of a written language has prevented widespread appreciation of their sophisticated intellectual tradition. Expansive in scope, this book examines many famous works of Inca art including Machu Picchu and the Dumbarton Oaks tunic, more enigmatic artifacts like the Sayhuite Stone and Capacocha offerings, and a range of relatively unknown objects in diverse media including fiber, wood, feathers, stone, and metalwork. Ultimately, Hamilton demonstrates how the Incas used scale as an effective mode of expression in their vast multilingual and multiethnic empire. Lavishly illustrated with stunning color plates created by the author, the book's pages depict artifacts alongside scale markers and silhouettes of hands and bodies, allowing readers to gauge scale in multiple ways. The pioneering visual and theoretical arguments of Scale andthe Incas not only rewrite understandings of Inca art, but also provide a benchmark for future studies of scale in art from other cultures.
This Handbook traces the history of the changing notion of what it means to die and examines the many constructions of afterlife in literature, text, ritual, and material culture throughout time. The Routledge Handbook of Death and the Afterlife is an outstanding reference source to the key topics, problems, and debates in this exciting subject. Comprising twenty-nine chapters by a team of international contributors, the Handbook is divided into three parts and covers the following important themes: The study of dying, death, and grief Disposal of the dead: past, present, and future Representations of death: narratives and rhetoric Youth meets death: a juxtaposition Questionable deaths and afterlives: suicide, ghosts, and avatars Material corpses and imagined afterlives around the world Within these sections, central issues, debates, and problems are examined, including: the world of death and dying from various cultural viewpoints and timeframes, cultural and social constructions of the definition of death, disposal practices, and views of the afterlife. The Routledge Handbook of Death and the Afterlife is essential reading for students and researchers in religious studies, philosophy, anthropology, and sociology.
None of the world’s “lost writings” have proven more perplexing than the mysterious script in which the Inka Empire kept its records. Ancient Andean peoples encoded knowledge in knotted cords of cotton or wool called khipus. In The Cord Keepers, the distinguished anthropologist Frank Salomon breaks new ground with a close ethnography of one Andean village where villagers, surprisingly, have conserved a set of these enigmatic cords to the present day. The “quipocamayos,” as the villagers call them, form a sacred patrimony. Keying his reading to the internal life of the ancient kin groups that own the khipus, Salomon suggests that the multicolored cords, with their knots and lavishly woven ornaments, did not mimic speech as most systems of writing do, but instead were anchored in nonverbal codes. The Cord Keepers makes a compelling argument for a close intrinsic link between rituals and visual-sign systems. It indicates that, while Andean graphic representation may differ radically from familiar ideas of writing, it may not lie beyond the reach of scholarly interpretation. In 1994, Salomon witnessed the use of khipus as civic regalia on the heights of Tupicocha, in Peru’s central Huarochirí region. By observing the rich ritual surrounding them, studying the village’s written records from past centuries, and analyzing the khipus themselves, Salomon opens a fresh chapter in the quest for khipu decipherment. He draws on a decade’s field research, early colonial records, and radiocarbon and fiber analysis. Challenging the prevailing idea that the use of khipus ended under early Spanish colonial rule, Salomon reveals that these beautiful objects served, apparently as late as the early twentieth century, to document households’ contribution to their kin groups and these kin groups’ contribution to their village. The Cord Keepers is a major contribution to Andean history and, more broadly, to understandings of writing and literacy.
In three volumes of expert, innovative scholarship, Literary Cultures of Latin America offers a multidisciplinary reference on one of the most distinctive literary cultures in the world. In topically arranged articles written by a team of international scholars, Literary Cultures of Latin America explores the shifting problems that have arisen across national borders, geographic regions, time periods, linguistic systems, and cultural traditions in literary history. Bucking the tradition of focusing almost exclusively on the great canons of literature, this unique reference work casts its net wider, exploring pop culture, sermons, scientific essays, and more. While collaborators are careful to note that these volumes offer only a snapshot of the diverse body of Latin American literature, Literary Cultures of Latin America highlights unique cultural perspectives that have never before received academic attention. Comprised of signed articles each with complete bibliographies, this unique reference also takes into account relevant political, anthropological, economic, geographic, historical, demographic, and sociological research in order to understand the full context of each community's literature.
Contains scholarly evaluations of books and book chapters as well as conference papers and articles published worldwide in the field of Latin American studies. Covers social sciences and the humanities in alternate years.