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Moon, Sun and Witches: Gender Ideologies and Class in Inca and Colonial Peru / Edition 1

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Overview

When the Spanish arrived in Peru in 1532, men of the Inca Umpire worshipped the Sun as Father and their dead kings as ancestor heroes, while women venerated the Moon and her daughters, the Inca queens, as founders of female dynasties. In the pre-Inca period such notions of parallel descent were expressions of complementarity between men and women. Examining the interplay between gender ideologies and political hierarchy. Irene Silverblatt shows how Inca rulers used their Sun and Moon traditions as methods of controlling women and the Andean peoples the Incas conquered. She then explores the process by which the Spaniards employed European male and female imageries to establish their own rule in Peru and to make new inroads on the power of native women, particularly poor peasant women.

Harassed economically and abused sexually, Andean women fought back, earning in the process the Spaniards' condemnation as "witches." Fresh from the European witch hunts that damned women for susceptibility to heresy and diabolic influence, Spanish clerics were predisposed to charge politically disruptive poor women with witchcraft. Professor Silverblatt shows that these very accusations provided women with an ideology of rebellion and a method for defending their culture.

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What People Are Saying

Warren
This is a rich and compelling analysis—well conceived, innovative, and dealing with important frontiers in several fields. It will stand as a very important contribution to anthropology, ethnohistory, Latin American studies, and women's studies.
— Kay B. Warren, Princeton University
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691022581
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/1987
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 302
  • Sales rank: 1,147,217
  • Product dimensions: 5.49 (w) x 8.51 (h) x 0.76 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2003

    Essential Feminist Anthropology/Gender Studies Reading

    While I was assigned this book for a class, I enjoyed it for its intriguing look at a society of Andeans, Incans and Spaniards and their organization of gender. Using illustrations, cross-cultural deities,and endless texts written by crusaders, priests, colonialists, and native Andeans, she vividly demonstrates the 'fall' of women in power (whether they were goddesses such as Panchaman or midwives). The lurid details of witch-hunts and subordination will resononate with studies of Salem, MA witch-hunts.

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