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Look Inside A History of the Khipu

A History of the Khipu


Part of Cambridge Latin American Studies

  • Author: Galen Brokaw, University at Buffalo, State University of New York
  • Date Published: May 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521197793

£ 90.00

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About the Authors
  • This book begins by proposing a theoretical model that reconciles orality-literacy studies and media theory in order to avoid the specious dichotomization of societies into those with and those without writing. The more relevant issue is the way in which a given society distributes semiotic functions among the various media that it employs and the forms of economic and political integration within which such media function. This theoretical model then informs a history of the Andean khipu from pre-Columbian times through the first 120 years of the colonial period. The first half of the book examines early Andean media and their socioeconomic and political contexts, culminating with the emergence of Wari and subsequently Inca khipu. The second half of the book documents and analyzes the continued use of khipu by indigenous individuals and communities in their interactions with Spanish officials, chroniclers, and priests. The study corrects many common misconceptions, such as the alleged mass destruction of khipu in the late sixteenth century. Even more importantly, it highlights the dialogue that occurred in the colonial period between the administrative and historiographic discourses of alphabetic Spanish and those of native Andean khipu genres.

    • First book-length historical treatment of the khipu
    • Explores the relationship between the khipu and other Andean media
    • Establishes a connection between an historical understanding of the khipu and decipherment projects
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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2010
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521197793
    • length: 320 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 162 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.59kg
    • contains: 49 b/w illus. 2 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Andean Media Prior to the Conquest:
    1. Early Andean societies and semiotic practices
    2. Middle Horizon media and the emergence of the khipu
    3. The khipu and the Inca state
    Part II. The Khipu in the Colonial Period, 1532–1650:
    4. Khipu historiography and colonial chronicles
    5. Spanish visitas and administrative khipu
    6. The khipu and the colonial state
    7. Ecclesiastical khipu and Spanish evangelization

  • Author

    Galen Brokaw, University at Buffalo, State University of New York
    Galen Brokaw is Associate Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University at Buffalo. He has previously taught at Lafayette College and as a visiting professor at Harvard University. Brokaw has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Social Science Research Council, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University. His articles have been published in Latin American Research Review, Colonial Latin American Review, Centennial Review, the Bulletin of the Comediantes, and other journals.

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