Building Subjects: Landscapes of Forced Resettlement in the Zaña and Chamán Valleys, Peru, 16th-17th Centuries C.E.
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CitationVanValkenburgh, Nathaniel. 2012. Building Subjects: Landscapes of Forced Resettlement in the Zaña and Chamán Valleys, Peru, 16th-17th Centuries C.E.. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
AbstractThis dissertation examines transformations in the political landscapes of 16th and 17th century colonial Peru, focusing in particular on the effects of the reducción forced resettlement movement on native communities in the Zaña and Chamán valleys of Peru's North Coast region. Based on archaeological settlement survey, excavations, geophysical survey, artifact analysis and archival research, I explore how reducción impacted indigenous political subjectivities, lifeways, and built environments within the Zaña/Chamán region. In my analysis, I describe reducción as both a movement (primarily initiated under the watch of Peru's fifth viceroy, Francisco de Toledo) that had immediate effects on social and material life in the Zaña and Chamán valleys and as a field of discourse that extended well beyond those practical moments. In turn, I demonstrate how reducción discourse grew out of diverse strands of Classical and Early Modern thought, but also critically responded to Spanish clerical and administrative perception of New World built environments and landscapes. Based on archaeological survey data, I argue that the Toledan reducción movement had profound effects on settlement systems in the lower Zaña and Chamán valleys, leading to a drastic increase in settlement nucleation and contributing to indigenous population decline. In tandem, reducción transformed native political affiliations from a series of nested political hierarchies into residentially based affiliations that proved incredibly resilient during nearly three centuries of colonial rule -- outlasting even the lives of individual reducción settlements themselves. Based on test excavations, geophysical survey, and three-dimensional mapping at colonial sites within the project area, I also note significant variations in the form of reducción settlements within the Zaña/Chamán region. I argue that these variations represent the modification of site plans by both Spanish and native actors and reflect the exigencies of Christian conversion, economic exploitation, and cultural survival. Moreover, I demonstrate how new burial traditions and forms of domestic offerings found in reducción settlements in the Zaña and Chamán valleys reflect novel forms of cultural production. Ultimately, I argue that that the story of reducción in the Zaña/Chamán region was neither one of straightforward colonial domination nor tidy negotiation between colonial officials and indigenous subjects. Rather, it was a fractious process that led to unanticipated rearticulations of discourse and practice, which were shaped by local conditions of possibility, improvisation, and contradiction.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:10403673
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