Mining the Early Modern Archive: The Global Microhistory of a Peruvian Coya

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Abstract

In this essay, I employ a philological approach to reading and analyzing Spanish-language historical documents that include Quechua, Aymara, and other non-Spanish terms to shed light on the records left by Native individuals, particularly women, in colonial Peru. Careful and rigorous attention to voice and language expands our understanding of the speaker’s intended meanings. Through this approach, I write an alternative history based on strategic speculation, but woven out of textual snapshots contextualized within their broader history and pieced together with an eye for narrative and plot as well as cultural and linguistic nuances. I illustrate this critical position and a methodology with the recasting of Kusi Warkay, an Indigenous woman often perceived as a poverty-stricken widow, but who was in fact one of the last local power players with enough influence among Inkas and Spaniards to also be considered as an important actor on a global scale.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-76
JournalModern Philology
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 20 2021

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