The volume includes essays on the major colonial centres of Mexico, Peru, and Brazil, as well as the Caribbean basin and the silverblaatt borderlands. Peru and the Colonial Origins of the Civilized World. In The Cord Keepers, the distinguished anthropologist Frank Salomon breaks new ground with a close ethnography of one Andean village where villagers, surprisingly, have Women inherited from women, worshipped female gods and directed their cults; men inherited from men, and ruled cults irne gods were male. Inca and colonial transformations of Andean gender relations by Irene Silverblatt Book 8 editions published between and in English and held by 20 WorldCat member libraries worldwide.
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Kolata History and its reconstructions are generally written by those who are politically dominant. In the Andes , ethnohistorical accounts of the conquest era were presented exclusively by Inca noblemen, Spanish conquerors, explorers, and missionaries Kolata , MacCormack , Silverblatt Because of Western, elite, and male biases, "others," are largely under- or misrepresented in these accounts Hahner , Matthiasson , Silverblatt , In the last decade scholars have tried to make amends by studying, often under the rubric of gender studies, the history of these long-ignored groups.
Unfortunately many of these approaches have been ethnocentric, uni-dimensional, or have simple involved ". In developing her version of life in the Andes , she creatively uses ethnohistorical sources by reading between the biases inherent in them. While focusing on the roles of women, sometimes to the exclusion of males, Silverblatt discusses the means by which the Spanish and Inca hegemonies cemented their control over the native Andean people and the transformations in Andean social structure which resulted from their conquests.
Throughout her dynamic, temporally-organized narrative of Andean prehistory and history she incorporates a discussion of changes in leadership and control over the means of production.
Relying on the Andean concept of dualism, Silverblatt effectively entwines the lives and ideologies of women into former narratives of other Andean scholars, such as MacCormack, Murra, Spaulding and Zuidema. At times, she idealizes the role of women in society or focuses on the world of women to the exclusion of males and children, creating the misrepresentation that women were affected most by a specific event.
Because Silverblatt attempts to apply a single model to the Andes as a whole, her account is sometimes overly simplistic. Her book is an excellent contribution to the field and will undoubtedly inspire new perspectives in Andean studies. She builds upon the received view that the Andean people divided their world into two complementary, gender-linked spheres.
Silverblatt argues that gender was a metaphor for structuring social relations, and that social reproduction was possible only when the male and female spheres united. Each sphere was essentially a mirror image of the other, as illustrated by the bilateral system of descent and parallel transmission of inheritance.
Gender parallelism resulted in strong gender and kin ties which allowed members to depend on same-sex relatives for their existence. In general, females were linked with the "forces of fertility" while males were coupled with the "implements of force" Silverblatt , but these divisions were relativistic, flexible and context specific.
Sometimes tasks overlapped, the linkages were inverted, or males were symbolically females and vice versa Zuidema While the system ". In constructing her model, Silverblatt relies extensively on the work of Zuidema regarding another gender system, "the conquest hierarchy. Intermediary descent groups resulted from secondary marriages of the male "conquerors" with the "conquered" females.
As "first among equals," they were simply given priority during rituals and ceremonies. In other words, even conquered males were symbolically considered females. Silverblatt believes that this "latent inequality" had little effect on gender relations in pre-Inca times but set the stage for transformations after the Inca conquest. Incorporating a discussion of these gender systems, Silverblatt constructs a model of pre-Inca society as a point of departure.
Here she draws heavily on the work of Spaulding. Households whose members descended from an apical ancestor composed an ayllu. Those that fulfilled the obligations of the ayllu, such as supporting the ayllu deity, enjoyed rights as an ayllu member. Ayllus were grouped into larger ayllus, or communities. Within a community, the ayllus competed for prestige and status and were rank ordered by various means such as position in the conquest hierarchy or degree of wealth as measured in amount of labor controlled.
However, access was not necessarily equal for all. The degree of stratification within ayllus is uncertain, and is likely to have varied. Silverblatt states that the most common means to pre-Inca ayllu leadership were inheritance-based or cargo-like systems.
The curaca, was responsible for the well-being of the community. In return for the services of the curacas, ayllu members tended their lands.
Ethnohistorical evidence suggests that curacas were usually male. However, Silverblatt argues that the role of women in ayllu leadership was underemphasized by the "andromyopic" chroniclers, and that authority within kinship groups was not based on gender, but on birth order. She feels that the status and power of pre-Inca women was nearly equal to that of men. Silverblatt presents an in-depth discussion of gender parallelisms in pre-Inca religious institutions.
She claims that ancestor deities were often classified as male or female. Women and men each had control over their own complementary religious organizations which revolved around the worship of same-sex deities. Women maintained the shrines and led the festivals for the female deity cults. In return for their loyalty, the female deities reciprocated in Andean tradition by addressing concerns specific to women. Silverblatt notes that, according to ethnohistorical accounts, the majority of ayllu-wide ancestral cults center around male deities and that the few female founding ancestors gave rise to patrilineages.
She feels that these statements may reflect the male biases of the chroniclers. However, she concedes that the conquest hierarchy, coupled with the linking of conqueror with male, may explain the preponderance of male ayllu-wide deities. She defends her simplifications by arguing that she is only constructing a generalized model of pan-Andean institutions. Obviously she is not able to incorporate all variations found within the nearly ethnic groups, with organization ranging from gathering-hunting bands to states Kolata , that the Inca empire conquered.
Whether the discrepancies between the ethnohistorical accounts are due to biases, misinformation, or simply regional variation is unknown.
Researchers in specific Andean regions will find it necessary to reconsider, and possibly modify, the specifics in her model. In addition to painting an ideal picture of pre-Inca Andean women in general, Silverblatt may have overestimated the degree of equality between men and women in pre-Inca times.
But, stable isotope analyses provide no information about the actual control of food resources only about consumption. Tombs containing male central figures and females in retainer and dedicatory burials are prevalent in pre-Inca contexts Verano In addition, there is evidence that females were exchanged during times of warfare in order to effect peace MacCormack Burkett states that in Andean society lineages were traced through the women but ".
Hastorf suggests that only occasionally ". More research is necessary before a definitive statement can be made about the power of women in the pre-Inca and Inca Andes.
Silverblatt devotes the last two sections of her book to a discussion of the erosion and transformation of Andean norms as the Inca and Spanish hegemonies imposed themselves upon the indigenous inhabitants.
Unlike the Spanish, the Incas held the same general world view as the other native populations, and so were able to gain control by incorporating and manipulating existing ideologies.
This resulted in subtle changes in gender relations, leadership and religious ideologies of the Andes. Silverblatt claims that internal ayllu social organization remained basically unchanged during Inca rule. The previously autonomous curacas became partly accountable to Inca government. The Inca had to approve the selection of the curacas. Before the children of curacas could succeed as new leaders, they were required to attend Inca schools, probably to indoctrinate them to Inca beliefs.
Under the Incas, the curacas were responsible for paying tribute based on the number of married men in the ayllu. Thus the Incas considered tribute to be an obligation of the household, which consisted of the complementary labors of men and women.
This tribute was exacted from land that the Incas claimed for the state and church. The remaining land was returned to the ayllu, and was administered, as in pre-Inca times, by the curaca. Curacas who held the favor of the Inca were rewarded with gifts of status and material wealth.
Because the right to rule was not based solely on consent of the ayllu members but also on the approval of the Inca, the loyalty of the curacas shifted subtlety toward the Inca. After conquest, the Incas incorporated their deities into the local belief systems. Manipulating local origin myths, the Incas claimed that their ancestors deities, the Sun and the Moon, were the earliest creations of Viracocha. The Inca and his queen, the Coya, were considered to be "children," or direct descendants, of the Sun and Moon, and thus were symbolically equivalent to the Venus-Morning and Venus-Evening stars respectively.
Coupled with their status as conquerors, this position legitimized the rule of the Incas and their place as a privileged noble class. Local ayllu leaders held the position of the children of the Venus morning and evening stars. The lower levels of the hierarchy were composed of the common people. Through this reconstruction of Andean kinship relations, a rigid class hierarchy, however masked, was institutionalized by the Incas. By transporting important huacas of each conquered ayllu to Cuzco , the Incas took responsibility for the worship of each ayllus important deities.
Only by paying tribute to the Incas would the ayllus insure that their huacas would be served and their communities thrive. The Inca also insured their importance to their subjects by sending them imperial deities. The Inca deities of the Sun male and Moon female were worshipped by all. Because kin relationships were constructed between local and imperial deities, the Incas were able to further entwine themselves into the local ideologies. As MacCormick points out, the Incas needed to maintain the cooperation of the ayllu priests and priestesses.
As intermediaries between the deity and the living, these people held considerable power in manipulating public opinion. The Incas rewarded their cooperation with material gifts and sacrifices.
Silverblatt argues that some changes in the position of women in society took place with the Inca conquest. Gender ideologies of complementarity and parallelism were still strong. Women held very important positions in the cult of the Moon. Now a strict hierarchy existed. The Queen held power over all women. Silverblatt speculates that during this period men received a greater share of the productive resources than women due to the practice of rewarding them for the activities as warriors.
Stable isotope analysis revealed that, while the amount of maize that females were consuming was consistent with the botanical product data, males had higher levels of maize consumption than expected. In addition, she states that a "bold" interpretation of her paleoethnobotanical spatial analysis would indicate that there might have been an ". Inequalities between men and women were certainly arising in some aspects of life.
Although the status and lives of most women did not change dramatically with the Inca conquest, the Inca, as the most elite conqueror, held symbolic and real power over all women. This dominance was dramatically illustrated through the institution of the aclla. Acllas were young women of moral and physical perfection, often of noble birth, who were selected by a representative of the Inca and placed in acllawasis.
These were convent-like places where the acllas were sheltered and instructed in the ideological and practical roles of womanhood such as preparing the chicha and weaving luxury cloth.
The acllas were internally ranked.
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