The production of the landscape in the lower Chillon River valley during the Inca and Spanish empires (ca. 1475-1580's)

PhD Project

The main objective of this research is to study the impact of the Inca and Spanish imperial expansions on local forms of landscape organization. To this end, the case study will focus on the peoples who inhabited the lower Chillon River valley in the central Andes. There, the constitution of the landscape during the Inca and Hispanic imperial expansions was a continuous process of local meaning-making through the performance of rituals. I define these processes as the localization of knowledge of normativity. They informed the performances within the set of structured behaviors that I call rituals. The product of these processes were different social relations that organized the space of the valley during the Inca conquest, the establishment of the encomiendas, and the general resettlements of peoples.

This proposal decenters the European categories (property, possession, dominion, among others) as analytical tools for the historical study of space organization in the Global South grounded in solid empirical sources. The research is based on archival sources collected at the Archivo General de Indias in Seville, the Archivo General de la Nación, and the National Library of Peru in Lima. From the interactions of the diversity of actors found in the documents, which include local ethnic leaders, Andean and European imperial agents, and African/African descendants, the research has exhaustively reconstructed the social dynamics that gave meaning to the organization of the valley space. In this way, I seek to contribute to the historical study of landscape production in the context of imperial expansions.

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