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|Who are the children of Pariacaca? :exploring identity through narratives of water and landscape in Huarochirí, Peru
|Based on AHRC-funded interdisciplinary research, this thesis explores cultural identity in the Peruvian Andes through the highly expressive domain of water practice in the Spanish-speaking Huarochirí province in the highlands of Lima. The thesis makes an original contribution to scholarship on Latin American society through exposing discontinuities between the ways that international and national (Peruvian State) law describe and define ancestral ‘indigenous’ groups, compared with the emic expression of identity ‘on the ground’. As elsewhere in the Andean highlands, Huarochiranos express cultural difference vis-à-vis outsiders through their conviction that the local landscape is animate and has agency. Through detailed analysis of Spanish language narratives recorded during in depth fieldwork in 2012, the thesis illuminates the ways in which highlanders in this non-indigenous province express animate landscape in a non-indigenous tongue. Of particular interest are irrigators' relationships with their local environment and the beings which dwell in it, and emerge from it as well as the vocabulary which they employ to describe the landscape. Through this approach, the thesis builds on the work of Marisol De la Cadena (2010) by proposing that debates concerning ‘Indigenous Cosmopolitics’ are applicable to groups who do not necessarily define themselves as indigenous or speak an indigenous language. Informed by postcolonial theory, this research explores the effects of cultural change and continuity – within the context of infrastructural development and associated nation-building processes – on language loss, irrigation-focused ritual discourse and attitudes towards water. The thesis is also framed against the historical literary backdrop of the famous so-called Huarochirí Manuscript (c.1608).This unique colonial Quechua document of indigenous authorship deriving from the same region contains information on the cultural elaboration of water in the early colonial era and represents an unparalleled source for understanding the indigenous past in the Andes.
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|School of Modern Languages
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|Bennison, S. 2016.pdf
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