Indigenous Response to Spanish Colonization in Word and Image: Guaman Poma de Ayala in Colonial Peru

In the early seventeenth century, Andean native Guaman Poma de Ayala wrote a detailed and richly illustrated "letter" to the King of Spain. In it, he chronicled Andean history and sought redress of the abuses that he observed in colonial Peru. This fascinating book-length manuscript of several hundred pages, including scores of drawings, provides unique insights into the perspective of author who bridged two cultures: one indigenous and Andean, and the other colonial and European. The complex (and sometimes unexpected) ways that Guaman Poma de Ayala navigated and sought to shape the confluence of these two cultures, in both word and image, have fascinated scholars from a wide range of disciplines, including history, literature, art history, and anthropology. This rich and multi-layered document also illustrates the challenges of transcribing, translating, and analyzing materials produced in a colonial context. Participants in this seminar will analyze selections from this important manuscript and consider some of the ways that scholars' explorations of it have shed light on artistic, cultural, and linguistic syncretism, an indigenous perspective, and colonialism in early colonial South America. The seminar discussion will cover the form as well as content of Guaman Poma de Ayala's manuscript, including both images and text. Note: The entire work by Guaman Poma de Ayala is digitized and available online in an excellent site hosted by the Royal Library in Copenhagen, which possesses the manuscript: https://www.kb.dk/permalink/2006/poma/info/en/frontpage.htm (This website provides a transcription, but not translations, of the Spanish-language manuscript. Seminar participants will be provided English-language translations of relevant passages.)