Workshop “Andean Studies”, June 2014

Roundtable on Andean Studies

Stirling University, 14 June 2014

Inter-disciplinary dialogues about the archaeology, ethnohistory,
linguistics and ethnography of the Andean cultures

Contact: Sabine Dedenbach-Salazar


New Information on Pachacamac

Jane Feltham (Ychsma Project, Belgium)

Pachacamac was one of the most important religious centres in the pre-Columbian Andes.  This presentation will focus on the outlying buildings and pyramids with ramps that have been extensively excavated by the Belgian Ychsma Project over the past 20 years.  There will be a discussion of the theories about the function of these buildings and whether they are religious or secular in nature, or a combination of both.  Where possible, I will try and relate our findings to ethnohistorical writings, particularly the Huarochirí manuscript.

An archive in a box of dynamite: Notes from a recent visit to Northern Potosí, Bolivia

Tristan Platt (University of St. Andrews)

In December 2013 I re-visited my field-family in Macha (Liq’unipampa, Pichichua, AlaQuyana, Alasaya), together with my assistant Fortunato Laura (Llallagua), and found the ex-Curaca don Gregorio unwell, but still eager to talk about his time as Curaca. He gave us an “oral template” of the documents he used to write in Spanish (which he does not speak), which I have checked against documents signed by his father don Agustín, now held in the Potosi Departmental Archive. He then produced, with the help of his son Macario, an old dynamite-box and several q’ipis and leather envelopes full of papers. Though I had previously seen a couple of sheepskins with important documents held flat between them (Platt 1982, 1992), I had never seen these papers. I will introduce this new part of the ‘Curacal’ Archive, and comment on some of the unique documents it contains.


Ávila’s Tratado de los errores  and the Huarochirí manuscript

Sabine Dedenbach-Salazar Sáenz (University of Stirling)

In 1608 Francsico de Ávila wrote a document called the Tratado y relacion de los errores, falsos dioses, y otras supersticiones y ritos diabolicos en que viuian antiguamente los yndios de las prouincias de Huaracheri, Mama, y Chaclla y oy tambien viuen engañados con gran perdicion de sus almas which tells in Spanish the stories which form the first seven chapters of the Quechua Huarochirí traditions. I examine the relation and connection of  both texts, revisiting the hypothesis that they are based on a lost Quechua text ‘X’. I will then look into some of Ávila’s comments which characterise his Tratado and make it different from other texts used in Christianisation.


De cuentas y cuentos. The “Material” Aspect of the Spiritual Conquest in the Northern Andes of Ecuador

Emilia Ferraro (University of St. Andrews)

Recent discussions on the inseparability of mind and matter in Andean worldviews reveals the embodiment of mind and matter by a shared matrix of animated substance, and all materials are attributed some kind of potency and agency (Tassi 2012). Andean ethnographies on embodied forms of representation (Arnold & Yapita 1998; 2000; Platt 2002), ‘tactile/iconic signifiers’ (Quilter & Urton 2002), and ‘emotional fusion of fabric and being’ (Cereceda 1986) suggest an “Andean” way of relating to objects and representational devices where contact, rather than view, is paramount (Tassi 2012: 300). Within this framework, my paper presents the analysis of a specific form of jewellery, namely necklaces that combine coloured beads, coins, and Catholic items, arguing that sacredness and its multiple manifestations is perceived as located in the world of Christianity. The coins, beads, and Catholic images these necklaces are made of, share the properties of “enlightened materials”, that is to say materials associated with light, which imbues them with the quality of radiance and brilliance as manifestations and sources of sacredness.


Weaving for the Tourist: The Weaving Centers of Chinchero, Peru

Pablo García (University of St. Andrews)

The town of Chinchero boasts one of the most ancient and reputed weaving traditions in the Cuzco region. In the late 1970s a series of interventions led by some community members supported by foreign friends like Christine and Edward Franquemont aimed at tackling the perceived loss of a cultural practice that was languishing by the middle of the 20th century. It was then that the first weaving center of Chinchero (the Centro de Textiles Tradicionales) was founded, coinciding with a surge of international tourism and the increasing concern for cultural preservation. Ever since, and specially with the boom of tourism in the Cuzco region during the 1990s and the 2000s, these centres have multiplied in town and with it a number of  new dynamics, tensions and situations both at the internal level of these groups and at the community level. The aim of this paper is to explore in some detail these new developments and their social transcendence in the context generated by an ever increasing tourist industry.


Emotion, Ethics and Public Intimacy: Popular Music Performances in Andean Peru

James Butterworth (University of London),

This paper focuses on the emotional and ethical conventions surrounding performances of the popular-folkloric huayno genre in Peru. Huayno’s cynical songs of love gone sour provide emotional catharsis as well as spectacular entertainment and its star performers are appreciated simultaneously as therapists and artists. First, I examine the aesthetics of emotion in huayno performances: that is, how emotion is ordered, given meaning, performed, and ascribed beauty and value. Second, I consider how the process through which emotion becomes value-laden is closely bound up with issues of morality and ethics. I argue that audiences evaluate singers not only in terms of the feelings and misfortune that they perform but on the basis of the ethical work they appear to enact in dealing with pain, suffering, and moral conundrums. More broadly, I highlight how the songs and stage-talk at live huayno events articulate recognizable tropes about romance, work, money, family, and drinking, which index private, yet generic, emotional and ethical struggles and help to structure public intimacy.