Current Institutional Affiliation
Doctoral Candidate, University of California / Davis

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2013
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, University of California / Davis
Andean Spaces and Indigenous Places in Early Colonial Peru: A Spatial History

How did indigenous experiences of the Spanish 'conquest' and colonization of Peru vary across space? While recently ethnohistorians and practitioners of the 'new conquest history' have shown that conquest was never complete nor absolute and that colonization was a negotiated process mediated through the prism of their own culture, the spatiality of conquest and colonization remains unexplored. To address this, my dissertation is a spatial history of early colonial Peru, examining particularly how indigenous people used space, distance, and environment to mediate their participation in Spanish colonial politics, economy, and society. In this effort, I will employ the tools of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software to visualize the changing spatial practices of colonial-era Andeans. Since Andeans did not have their own writing tradition, I must rely on colonial records. However, when searching for evidence of indigenous autonomy and power, absences and anomalies in the colonial record can often be the most telling. By plotting out these absences, anomalies, and discrepancies over space and topography I intend to show just how incomplete was the Spanish conquest of Peru. Moreover, I intend to argue that indigenous people intentionally – if not consciously – adopted spatial practices meant to resist, counter, or create leverage against impositions of colonial power. My dissertation consists of three related parts: a spatial history of the conquest itself (Part 1), an examination of how indigenous spatial practices confounded Spanish efforts to control them (2), and finally, an analysis of the changing relationship between Andeans and their landscapes (3). Much of the research for the first part can be done using published sources, while the other two will require intensive archival research in Peru. The geographic scope of this research will focus on Cuzco and the much understudied region to its north, including Jauja, Junín, and Huánuco.