Isabel Yaya Mckenzie

2022-2023

Lucienne Domergue Fellow

École des hautes études en sciences sociales

Indios y cristianos in the Andes. History of a cultural circulation between the Iberian Peninsula and Peru

Isabel Yaya McKenzie received her Ph.D. from the University of New South Wales specializing in historical anthropology. She is a lecturer at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales affiliated with the Laboratoire d’anthropologie sociale. She has been a visiting fellow at Dumbarton Oaks, the School of Advanced Studies in London, and the John Carter Brown Library.

Her research lies in two interrelated areas whose common thread is long-term historical structures. The first examines forms of legitimation and power implemented by the ruling states of the Andean world, from the Inca period to the fall of the Spanish Empire. In parallel, she studies spaces of autonomy and contestation that emerged at the heart of the colonial state. Another area of her research is based on ethnographic fieldworks and focuses on the reproduction of social institutions and religious knowledge in the Andean world. Isabel Yaya McKenzie is the editor-in-chief of L’Homme. Revue française d’anthropologie.

Research project

This project aims at expanding our knowledge of immaterial exchanges between the Iberian Peninsula and colonial Peru by studying the Andean adaptations of the Moors and Christians festivals in the corregimiento of Cajatambo.

These representations are documented since the second half of the 17th century in the northern sierra of Lima and a majority nowadays are structured around a mock battle opposing the Incas to the conquistadors. How did these devotional practices circulate across the Atlantic and transform through time? How can we account for their long-term persistence in a cultural space so distant from its original place of origin?

The project investigates the leading individuals and institutions that implemented these cultural transfers, among which missionary orders and indigenous cofradías played a predominant role. This project will expand its comparative perspective to other parts of the Iberian world where similar traditions have been identified.

Selected Publications

- 2019. “Une histoire de la violence. La reconstitution ritualisée de la capture de l’Inca dans les Andes centrales”, Ethnologie Française, XLIX (3), pp. 493-506.

- 2016. “Tales of Fallen Empires. The Andean Utopia in the British Press of the Eighteenth Century”, Bulletin of Latin American Research, 37(2), pp. 175-190.

- 2015. “Sovereign Bodies. Ancestor Cult and State Legitimacy Among the Incas”, History & Anthropology, 26(5), pp. 639-660.

- 2012. The Two Faces of Inca History. Dualism in the narratives and cosmology of ancient Cuzco, Leiden, E. J. Brill.

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