1 VanChiVard Position Paper Harvard University Andean Art History and Archaeology Working Group Compiled by Parker VanValkenburgh and Gary Urton from discussions between Thomas B.F. Cummins, Michele Koons, Jeffrey Quilter, Gary Urton and Parker VanValkenburgh Introduction Over the past twenty years, many Andeanists have perceived that knowledge produced within our domain of study is far less interrelated to wider bodies of theory in the humanities and social sciences than it could be. Members of the Harvard University Andean Art History and Archaeology Working Group recognize the fundamental importance of social theory to our work – and the prerogative for Andeanists to contribute more fully to theoretical discussions not particular to our region of study. However, we believe that before the VanChiVard workshop can move on to explore new ways for Andeanist scholarship to be incorporated into theoretical discourses in anthropology, ethnohistory, and art history, we must more carefully define the interpretive processes by which knowledge in our regional field has been produced over the past half century and the particular, indeed peculiar place in this recent intellectual history of the paradigm of “lo Andino.” Here, we discuss some of the more salient issues that have emerged in our initial discussions about this topic. We see lo Andino as being centered on a set of idealized structures – ideologies, institutions, behaviors – constructed primarily in ethnographic and ethnohistoric scholarship on the Andes. Through uncritical projection of these elements both forward in time and deep into the prehistory of the conventionally accepted maximum boundaries of the Inka empire, archaeologists and ethnohistorians have, at best, failed to fully appreciate the historical dimensions of social process in the region; at worst, we have contributed to what Johannes Fabian sees as the fundamental problem of Western anthropology – the “persistent and systematic tendency to place the referent(s) of anthropology in a Time other than the present of the producer of anthropological discourse” (1983: 31), a pattern that accords with (and indeed is genealogically related to) the perceived incompatibility of Andean native culture with the Neoliberal developmentalism of Mario Vargas Llosa and others. The History of a Problem: The Problem of History We see the current relationship between the archaeology, ethnography, and ethnohistory of the Andes taking shape in the 1950’s and 60’s. During this period, John Murra’s studies of the Inka empire emphasized what he saw as that civilization’s great distinctions from those of the Old World – among other characteristics, the absence of markets, the importance of reciprocity and redistribution, the use of cloth as status 2 good, and the “vertical control of a maximum of ecological levels,” a complex system whereby ayllus maintained access to diverse sets of natural resources through the foundation of colonies in different ecological zones (Murra 1980 , 1972; Harris 2000: 7). Murra encouraged his students to further develop these models and to apply them to explain new material, including patterning in archaeological remains and contemporary practices among the people of the central Andes. Nearly simultaneously, the early work of R. Tom Zuidema, who was trained in the Dutch structuralist tradition of anthropology, emphasized the synchronic expression of calendrical knowledge and social hierarchy within the Inka and early colonial Andean worlds (Zuidema 1962; Urton 1996; Harris 2000: 8-9). According to Olivia Harris, the work of Murra and Zuidema shared in common a “preference for understanding the quality of lived experience in the past, rather than the dynamics of historical transformation” (2000: 9). Expressed in frameworks of regional development as opposed to universalizing theories of human culture, the concepts and categories developed by Andean anthropology before the 1970’s appeared to have little impact on social anthropology and archaeology outside the region (ibid.: 1). Andean scholarship remained centered around the idea of regional exceptionalism and driven by the models of a small, core group of scholars with a penchant for interdisciplinary work. Thus even as New Archaeologists made the Andes a testing ground for theories of general social evolution, scholars studying subjects separated by broad expanses of time and space within the region tended to borrow from, and in turn contribute to, the common stock of terms and characteristics that had been constructed as being inherently characteristic of social and cultural life in the regioni. On its own, the persistent argument that the Andes has been home to distinctive social and cultural formations should not be seen as negative. However, according to some critics, anthropological perspectives on the Andes have suffered from the general problems of the direct historical approach – that is, a tendency to reify changing societies as static structures. Cultural anthropologist Orin Starn (1991) claims that Andean scholars, prominently including Zuidema and his student Billie Jean Isbell, failed to predict the emergence of the Shining Path guerilla movement in the Peruvian department of Ayacucho during the 1980’s in part because they had long “portray[ed] contemporary highland peasants as outside the flow of modern history” (1991: 64). Approaching their subject through a uniquely Western, Orientalizing gaze (Said 1978). Starn labels the tendency to romanticize and essentialize the Otherness of Andean peoples as “Andeanism;” elsewhere it has become known as the problem of lo Andino. Some Andeanists have remained wedded to the notion that many particularities of Andean culture have been transmitted through relatively passive media over the last five hundred years. On his part, geographer Daniel Gade embraces lo Andino, defining it as “the culture complex that has survived the harsh acculturation imposed during the colonial period and the technological changes of the modern world” (1999: 36, our emphasis). Yet by and large, responses to Starn’s criticisms seem to demonstrate that the current orientation in Andean scholarship is not only in agreement on the need for a robust understanding of historical change in the region, but that it is also perhaps 3 already more attuned to the dimensions of that change than Starn himself. Harris, for example, notes that the context in which Andeanism emerged was not exclusively formed by Western anthropological discourse; rather, Andeanism was also born “through the oppositions of tradition and modernity, of civilisation and barbarism, that were thoroughly entrenched in the Andean republics by the end of the nineteenth century” (2000: 10-11). Urton also makes a strong case for seeing true historical and comparative understanding of Andean contributions to human knowledge and practice as being far more humanizing than a description of Andean lives as conditioned solely by violence and the material implications of contemporary politics (1997: 2-3). We believe that, insofar as the project of understanding the problem of lo Andino and addressing it is a historiogaphical one, it is important that we locate Andeanist scholarship within wider intellectual currents. Quilter notes that the direct historical approach in archaeology began its life in the 1930’s as a way to make sense of the relationship between native archaeological remains and contemporary indigenous communities in the United States (Strong 1933, 1935; Steward 1946). In some cases, strong connections were demonstrated between prehistoric cultures and modern tribes. However, the direct historical approach was broadened thereafter – made heuristic and applied in circumstances in which historical continuity was harder to argue, circumstances in which such conditions were presumed rather than proven. Moreover, we believe that it is important to be aware of the ways in which idealized forms of Andean continuity are (re)produced not only in North American scholarship but also in wider political fields: Andean indigenous movements, the tourist industry, intellectual circles in Peru, etc.. For example, we see the tendency towards essentialism in the scholarship of John Murra as potentially a reflection of opposition to the linear social evolutionism ensconced in American anthropology during the 1950’s and 60’s (Sahlins and Service 1960, Service 1962, Fried 1967), itself conditioned by the Developmentalist paradigm in international relations during the post-war years (Rostow 1960). Marisol De La Cadena (2000, 2006) sees the origins of Andeanism in the Indigenista movement of the early 20th century and its canonization in criollo elite circles during the revolutionary years of the late 1960’s and 70’s. Harris (2000: 11) also notes that the tendency to categorically isolate native subjects has been a characteristic of recent Andean indigenous intellectual discourse, which has argued for the cultural distinctiveness of native societies as a basis for rights to customary law and language. Moving Forward Centrally, lo Andino might be considered as a manifestation of “structuralism’s problem with time” (Fabian 1983: 60, in Urton 1988: 226). In Mummies and Mortuary Monuments (1997), William Isbell attempts to historicize one particular element of Lo Andino, the ayllu. By identifying open, hilltop mortuary structures with the practice of ancestor worship, and the practice of ancestor worship with the constitution of ayllu organization (a fundamental element of lo Andino), Isbell suggests that the ayllu made its first appearance in the region during the Middle Horizon or Late Intermediate Period. 4 While we are very much amenable to interrogating the ideal categories of lo Andino from a historical perspective, we find the theoretical foundations and execution of Isbell’s work deeply problematic. His assumption that open mortuary monuments can be unambiguously affiliated with ayllus itself partakes of the problem of lo Andino, positing a timeless connection between an architectural form and a social institution because the two are observed alongside each other in accounts of Inka ancestor worship. In the ten years since the publication of Mummies, we have noticed a tendency for archaeologists to shun critical discussions about the place of ethnographic and ethnohistoric analogies in their interpretations of the Andean past. Yet because (pace Wiley ) all archaeological interpretation entails analogical reasoning, Andeanist archaeologists who do not explicitly reflect on the ways in which they make sense of the relationship between past and present in the region risk continually reproducing the static categories of Lo Andino. Simply mapping ethnographic and ethnohistoric details onto archaeological evidence through one-off analogies is problematic. Such a mode of analysis, which Ann Stahl labels the “illustrative analogy,” forces us to focus solely on the commonalities between the ethnographic and archaeological situations being compared – and therefore precludes the existence of meaningful differences between them (Stahl 1993: 236). To construct more sensitive interpretive analogies between past and present Andean societies, we need to better understand the interplay of structure and process within the temporal dimension of Andean social life. For example, while granting that cultural persistence may indeed be a feature of Andean history, we should see such continuity not as the product of simple survival but as an active achievement in a world where the status quo is change and transformation as opposed to stasis (Chance 1996: 393). We must acknowledge, in Urton’s words, that “there are no ‘innocent ‘survivors’ – institutions and practices untouched by history – in the Andes (1990: 15). Yet to understand historical change in the Andes, it is imperative that we not conflate “continuity” in institutions and practices with the problem of lo Andino. By continuity, as applied to Andean circumstances, we understand a set of problems (not answers) in Andean studies that emerge from the recognition of institutions, practices, beliefs, etc., within communities, as evidenced variously by ethnographic and/or ethnohistoric sources of information, that appear over long periods of time and/or across great stretches of territory. The question arises in such circumstances of what is the significance and meaning of those coincidental encounters (i.e., in the data). Lo Andino, in contrast, entails the presumption that there are certain institutions, practices, and beliefs that have been held onto or adhered to within communities (i.e., ayllus), or between communities, over long periods of time – if not from the earliest occupation of the Andes by humans. These features are represented as though they are autochthonous parts of the landscape, not products of human social interaction, contestation, change and need no critical examination nor rational explanation. In our view, the former (elements of continuity) have often been conflated with the latter (lo andino) to the point that it has become extremely difficult to talk about historical change 5 in the Andes or to bring ethnographic, historical, and archaeological data in relation to each other. In addition, we should note that we see lo Andino as a problem of defining culture not only in time but across territory as well – a process in which the essential characteristics of a people (Andeans) are co-produced with the region within which we locate them (the Andes). Critical interpretation of the relationship between the past and the present in modern western South America requires that we examine variation in ideologies, institutions, and behaviors within historic and ethnographic communities in the region. Bibliography Chance, John K. 1996. “Mesoamerica’s Ethnographic Past.” Ethnohistory 43(3): 379403. De La Cadena, Marisol. 2000. Indigenous Mestizos: the Politics of Race and Culture in Cuzco, Peru, 1919-1991. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. De La Cadena, Marisol. 2006. “The Production of Other Knowledges and its Tensions: From Andeanist Anthropology to Interculturalidad?” in Ribeiro, Gustavo Lins and Arturo Escobar, eds., World Anthropologies: Disciplinary Transformations within Systems of Power. Oxford, UK: Berg. Fabian, Johannes. 1983. Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes Its Objects. New York: Columbia University Press. Fried, Morton H. 1967. The Evolution of Political Society: An Essay in Political Anthropology. 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The Ceque System of Cuzco: The Social Organization of the Capital of the Inca. Leiden: Proefschrift. i As a group, we disagree about the degree to which the structural principles forming the core of Zuidema’s work on the Andes (dualism in particular) have become a part of the general stock of concepts reproduced as lo Andino. However, we agree that lo Andino contains ideas that derive from the work of multiple scholars working in the Andes, as from extra-regional scholarship and political discourses carried on outside academe.