Article

‘Miserable San Damian—But What Treasures!’: The Life of Aleš Hrdlička's Peruvian Collection

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the author.

Abstract

This article examines the lives of artefacts collected by physical anthropologist Aleš Hrdlička during his expeditions to Peru. In 1910 and 1913, Hrdlička travelled to the Andean nation to gather materials that could shed light on the peopling of the Americas, health and disease in pre-Columbian societies, and the purported racial ‘types' of the region. The study focuses on cultural artefacts the scientist acquired, beginning with these materials’ collection as specimens meant to reveal the racial prehistory of the Andes, and continuing with their classification, display, and exchange as museum objects at the Smithsonian Institution. My analysis of Hrdlička's Peruvian collection draws attention not only to how scientific representations of Peru and the Andes have shifted over time, but also to the way in which a focus on museum objects can elucidate changing notions about the cultural agency of prehistoric populations and their present-day descendants.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the author.

Article
This article examines the collection activities of Paul Dyck (1917–2016), a collector of Native North American Plains objects. Paul Dyck’s extensive archive is employed to explore networks of collectors and their practices, spanning the entirety of the United States in the mid-twentieth century. Weaving ethnographic material conducted with private collectors and heirs alongside Dyck’s correspondence, Dyck’s activities are situated within the history of anthropological thought, a discourse on the nature of settler colonial practices of collection, and U.S. settler identity formation. The article draws on these insights to introduce settler materiality, a new theoretical term and definition with relevance for anthropologists, Native American and Indigenous Studies scholars, historians, and settlercolonial theorists interested in the way material culture functions in settler colonial societies.
Article
Full-text available
Julius Nestler, high school teacher and amateur archaeologist from Prague, brought home more than 3,500 archaeological and anthropological artifacts from his expedition to Bolivia (1909–1912). At present they are in the possession of the Náprstek Museum in Prague. a smaller corpus of human bones, especially skulls, some deformed (elongated) and/or trepanned, were deposited at the Hrdlička Museum of Man (Charles University in Prague). Nestler’s second collection has not, so far, re­ceived much attention from anthropologists, museologists or historians of science, one of the reasons probably being the fact that there is no preserved documentation as to its provenance. Sources dispersed in several archives and publications made it possible to ascertain Nestler’s motivation for collecting human remains, the location where he collected them, and the circumstances of their sale to Charles University. The article also aspires to insert the collection and its original owner into the broader context of anatomical and anthropological disciplinary practices in the Czech Lands in the first decades of the 20th century.
Article
Full-text available
Prior to World War II research in physical anthropology functioned within its social and political context to produce an inegalitarian ideology. Aleš Hrdlička, 1869-1943, held a prominent place in these developments. Subsequent contextual changes (not simply hypothesis testing) produced epistemological changes.Although the field has been liberalized, many of the research interests and beliefs regarding the concept of race of the pre-war period remained for reasons having little to do with analytical efficacy. The continuing emphasis placed on naturalistic explanation in general is shown in continuity with the apologetic politics of pre-war anthropology. Yet, its promise for political application has dimished. Alternatives with broader application exist in social science approaches to comparative human biology, but social constraints upon the field limit the focus of physical anthropology to natural history. Moreover, this historical analysis shows socio-scientific articulation is intrinsic to the process of scientific discovery and change.
Article
In 1911 Hiram Bingham and the Yale Peruvian Expedition team first sighted Machu Picchu. The expedition would return to Peru two more times (1911 and 1914-15), mapping, excavating, and photographing the Andean region around Cuzco. Part of the legacy of the three expeditions is its set of collections that include exotic animals, books and antiquities, and skeletal remains. This article examines the practices and collecting technologies of the expedition to suggest that the objects collected as well as the technologies and practices used in collecting helped fashion Machu Picchu into a "lost city" that was "scientifically discovered" by Bingham. The expedition combined a reliance on prospecting by local huaqueros with the notion that science had a sovereign claim on those objects that might contribute to the accumulation of its knowledge. Ultimately, the re-visioning of Machu Picchu as a vestige of the glorious Inca race and a "scientific discovery" was materialized and evidenced through collected objects.
Article
More than the story of a South American country, History's Peru examines how the entity called "Peru" gradually came into being, and how the narratives that defined it evolved over time. Mark Thurner here offers a brilliant account of Peruvian historiography, one that makes a pioneering contribution not only to Latin American studies but also to the history of historical thought at large. He traces the contributions of key historians of Peru, from the colonial period through the present, and teases out the theoretical underpinnings of their approaches. He demonstrates how Peruvian historical thought critiques both European history and Anglophone postcolonial theory. And his deeply informed readings of Peru's most influential historians--from Inca Garcilaso de la Vega to Jorge Basadre--are among the most subtle and powerful available in English. In this tour de force, Thurner examines the development of Peruvian historical thought from its misty colonial origins in the sixteenth century up to the present day. He demonstrates that the concept of "Peru" is both a strange and enlightening invention of the modern colonial imagination--an invention that lives on today as a postcolonial wager on a democratic political future that can only be imagined in its own historicist terms, not those of European or Western history. A fascinating counter example to those who mistakenly believe history to be an exact and objective science, History's Peru is an intellectual adventure of wide scope and great originality.
Article
Potential archaeological evidence of violence is usually somewhat ambiguous: it can be interpreted in different ways. I argue that our archaeological interpretations are strongly conditioned by - among other factors - the history of representations of indigeneity. In the central Andes, we must contend with unsavory stereotypes of indigenous Andeans as backward, tough, and liable to irrational violence. These old but newly reconfigured stereotypes are drawn on for political purposes by both criollo urbanites and Quechua- and Aymara-speaking Andeans themselves. Opposed to them are positive but problematic images of indigenous Andeans steeped in ritual and existing in harmony with society and nature, images with a pedigree in early twentieth-century romantic nativism and in mid-century structuralist anthropology. These stereotypes too are strategically consumed and perpetrated by the crafters of nationalist narratives, the tourism and artesania industries, and self-identified indigenous Andeans. In the oversimplified terms of public imagination, spiritual Andeans are opposed to violent Andeans. This problematic dyad politicizes archaeological interpretation while impoverishing the space of its possibilities, constraining archaeologists to choose between interpretations of the past that seem either distastefully savage or falsely idyllic. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book
Chapter American polygeny and craniometry before Darwin : blacks and Indians as separate, inferior species Notes in computer files
Article
Through an intensive examination of photographs and engravings from European, Peruvian and US archives, this text explores the role visual images and technologies have played in shaping modern understandings of race. The book traces the subtle shifts that occurred in European and South American depictions of Andean Indians from the late-18th to the early-20th century and explains how these shifts led to the modern concept of "racial difference". Whilst Andean peoples were always thought of as different by their European describers, it was not until the early-19th century that European artists and scientists became interested in developing a unique visual and typological language for describing their physical features. The author suggests that this "scientific" or "biological" discourse of race cannot be understood outside a modern visual economy.
Article
Museums are sites where people encounter material objects. This article examines object and subject entanglements that take place at a university museum in northern Norway, and illustrates how objects shift identities as they interact with subjects and how subjects are also affected by the encounter. A relational materialities perspective, which demonstrates how object identity is related to the subject it engages with, allows multiple versions of objects to appear. Working as a certified expert in the university museum, the author aims to address the quandary over future museum collection policies. She argues that collection policies are not only about what to select but also who makes the selection decisions, and the perspectives associated with such choices. If museum collections are based on expert relationships to objects, the quality of the expert needs further investigation.
Article
In a 400 year encounter with Quechua- and Aymara-speaking peoples Euro-American thought has, until recently, has achieved ever-deepening ignorance about the Andean majority populations. The recent flourishing of Andean ethnology is the greatest such movement since the 1570s; it can be traced both to highland movements of regional self-assertion after 1900, and to the separate rediscoveries of native America by the anthropologists of France, Germany, and the USA. Current work reflects the condition of national states coping uncertainly with cultural plurality, and the tendency to develop anthropological theories for their critical as much as their analytical potential.-from Author Dept of Anthropology, Univ of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA.
Article
In 1938, the Buffalo Museum of Science acquired some 62 hundred objects collected between 1886 and 1916 by and for P. G. Black, a branch inspector for Burns, Philp & Company Ltd., the famous Sydney-based mercantile and shipping firm. Despite the collection's size, breadth, and significance as a product of the colonial encounter in northern Australia and Melanesia, its history is still largely unrecorded. This article begins to trace the social life of the collection by narrating a formative moment in its biography: the period of Burns, Philp's expansion into the southwest Pacific during which Black assembled the collection. It also identifies two other moments: the years after Black's death in 1921 when the overseas purchase of the collection was decried in Australian newspapers and the years after the collection came to Buffalo when objects were loaned for display at American fine arts museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York. At these particular biographical moments, objects in the collection were differently construed as native curios and ethnological specimens, national patrimony, and primitive art. This article advances a trend of recent scholarship in anthropology and museology by foregrounding the historical circumstances and social relations that condition the appropriation of objects. [Buffalo Museum of Science, P. G. T. Black Collection, Oceania, Australian Museum, art/artifact, object biography, national patrimony]
Article
In the 1960s, U.S. physical anthropology underwent a period of introspection that marked a change from the old physical anthropology that was largely race based to the new physical anthropology, espoused by Washburn and others for over a decade, which incorporated the evolutionary biology of the modern synthesis. What actually changed? What elements of the race concept have been rejected, and what elements have persisted, influencing physical anthropology today? In this article, I examine both the scientific and social influences on physical anthropology that caused changes in the race concept, in particular the influence of the American Anthropological Association. The race concept is complicated but entails three attributes: essentialism, cladistic thinking, and biological determinism. These attributes have not all been discarded; while biological determinism and its social implications have been questioned since the inception of the field, essentialism and the concomitant rendering of populations as clades persists as a legacy of the race concept. [Keywords: race, essentialism, physical anthropology]
Article
This paper explores the implications of Foucault's perspective of liberal government for approaches to the practical history of anthropology. It also draws on assemblage theory to consider the changing relations between field, museum and university in relation to a range of early twentieth-century anthropological practices. These focus mainly on the development of the Boasian paradigm in the USA during the inter-war years and on the anthropological practices clustered around the Musée de l'Homme in the 1930s. Key steps in the argument focus on the role of what Foucault called “transactional realities” in mediating the practical applications of anthropology in colonial contexts and in “anthropology at home” projects. Special consideration is also given to the increasingly archival properties of anthropological collections in the early twentieth century and the consequences of this for anthropology's relations to practices of governing.
Article
In 1911 Hiram Bingham and the Yale Peruvian Expedition team first sighted Machu Picchu. The expedition would return to Peru two more times (1912 and 1914-15), mapping, excavating, and photographing the Andean region around Cuzco. Part of the legacy of the three expeditions is its set of collections that include exotic animals, books and antiquities, and skeletal remains. This article examines the practices and collecting technologies of the expedition to suggest that the objects collected as well as the technologies and practices used in collecting helped fashion Machu Picchu into a "lost city" that was "scientifically discovered" by Bingham. The expedition combined a reliance on prospecting by local huaqueros with the notion that science had a sovereign claim on those objects that might contribute to the accumulation of its knowledge. Ultimately, the re-visioning of Machu Picchu as a vestige of the glorious Inca race and a "scientific discovery" was materialized and evidenced through collected objects.
Article
Museum exhibitions are commonly seen as critical sites for the constitution of identity and difference. They provide occasions and resources for representing and reflecting on notions of quality, worth, and other social values and meanings. But how are values and identities shaped and produced through exhibitions? How are exhibitions put together in ways that might communicate particular values and shape various identities? This article begins to consider how “rhetorics of value” are produced through contemporary museum exhibitions by exploring the multilayered, multimedia communication involved as exhibitions convey evaluations and interpretations through visual and verbal means and through “designed space.”
Article
This commentary article focuses on a crucial moment in the formation of Peruvian Creole nationalism: the 1836–9 Peruvian–Bolivian Confederation. Nationalist sentiments expressed through the anti-confederationist press, satiric poetry and pamphlets, glorified the Inca past while spurning the Indian present. During this period, a nationalist, essentially racist, rhetoric whose roots can be traced to the late eighteenth century, took shape. This rhetoric would provide the foundations of an ideology which has prevailed in Peruvian history. This rhetoric reached its peak in the twentieth century, while evolving into a historiographical discourse instrumental to the exercise of power and which is now in crisis.
Article
How are images constructed from one of Ecuador's political discourses? This article analyses: (i) the transition in 1857 from a state-centred form of administration of indigenous populations (the tribute system) to a decentralised form in the hands of private and local powers which effectively rendered these populations invisible; (2) the ensuing power-game between Conservatives and Liberals which aimed to forged a symbolic analogue of the indian and create a political field; (3) the manner in which the Liberal Revolution (1895) implanted a 'ventriloquist's' political representation which became a channel for indian resistance; (4) the research problems which 'invisibility' of the indians and the 'ventriloquist's' voice pose for historians.
Article
ABSTRACT Physical anthropologist Aleš Hrdlička is often remembered as an institutional and political opponent of Franz Boas and as an advocate of racial typology against which the Boasian antiracialist position in American anthropology developed. I argue that Hrdlička nonetheless also has more subtle lessons to offer about the political limits of Boasian antiracism. Examining Hrdlička's engagement with the politics of Europe and East Asia from the 1920s to the 1940s, particularly with the intellectual grounding of Japanese imperialism, I suggest that he was perhaps uniquely cognizant of a “second problem of race in the world”—the racist assimilationism of the Japanese empire—vis-à-vis the Boasian grasp of race, rooted in a response to U.S. and Nazi racisms, as a category of invidious difference. Moreover, I contend that the lacuna that Hrdlička helps us identify has continued to haunt the discipline at certain key moments of Boasian critique of other ideological forces.
Article
This article is concerned with pursuing the issue of transnational museological relationality and responsibility in the context of Sierra Leonean cultural heritage. In particular it draws upon vocabularies more commonly associated with the study of human migration to consider both historical and contemporary transnational flows of Sierra Leonean material culture and associated knowledges. It does so in order to help rethink the status, value, and potential of ethnographic collections in the world's museums for different stakeholders. Focusing on Sierra Leonean collections in three European museums, the article explores the historical formation and distribution of this “object diaspora,” and acknowledges its entanglement in the networks, flows, and power disparities of colonialism. Rather than arguing for repatriation, however, a case is made for recognizing the value of these collections in their diasporic locations as a resource for contemporary Sierra Leonean communities, not least through the “remittance corridors” they are able to open.
Article
The father of Peruvian archaeology, Julio Tello was the most distinguished Native American scholar ever to focus on archaeology. A Quechua speaker born in a small highland village in 1880, Tello did the impossible: he received a medical degree and convinced the Peruvian government to send him to Harvard and European universities to master archaeology and anthropology. He then returned home to shape modern Peruvian archaeology and the institutions through which it was carried out. Tello’s vision remains unique, and his work has taken on additional interest as contemporary scholars have turned their attention to the relationship among nationalism, ethnicity, and archaeology. Unfortunately, many of his most important works were published in small journals or newspapers in Peru and have not been available even to those with a reading knowledge of Spanish. This volume thus makes available for the first time a broad sampling of Tello’s writings as well as complementary essays that relate these writings to his life and contributions. Essays about Tello set the stage for the subsequent translations. Editor Richard Burger assesses his intellectual legacy, Richard Daggett outlines his remarkable life and career, and John Murra places him in both national and international contexts. Tello’s writings focus on such major discoveries as the Paracas mummies, the trepanation of skulls from Huarochirí, Andean iconography and cosmology, the relation between archaeology and nationhood, archaeological policy and preservation, and the role of science and museums in archaeology. Finally, the bibliography gives the most complete and accurate listing of Tello’s work ever compiled. With its abundance of coups, wars, political dramas, class struggle, racial discrimination, looters, skulls, mummies, landslides, earthquakes, accusations, and counteraccusations, The Life and Writings of Julio C. Tello will become an indispensable reference for Andeanists.
Article
Robert W. Rydell contends that America's early world's fairs actually served to legitimate racial exploitation at home and the creation of an empire abroad. He looks in particular to the "ethnological" displays of nonwhites—set up by showmen but endorsed by prominent anthropologists—which lent scientific credibility to popular racial attitudes and helped build public support for domestic and foreign policies. Rydell's lively and thought-provoking study draws on archival records, newspaper and magazine articles, guidebooks, popular novels, and oral histories.
Article
"We have, at long last, a real historian with real historical skills and no intra-professional ax to grind. . . . All these pieces show the virtues one finds missing in . . . nearly all of anthropological history work but [Stocking's]: extensive and critical use of archival sources, tracing of real rather than merely plausible intellectual connections, and contextualization of ideas and movements in terms of broader social and cultural currents. Stocking writes very clearly; attacks important topics—race and evolution, the influence of scientism, the interaction between anthropology and other disciplines; and is methodologically very sophisticated. Though his main theme is the development of racialism and of opposition to it, his book bears on a range of issues very much alive in anthropology. . . . I would think no apprentice anthropologist ought to be pronounced a journeyman until he or she has absorbed what Stocking has to say."—Clifford Geertz, The Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
Article
Photocopy of typescript. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Michigan, 1979. Bibliography: leaves 835-872.
Article
Obra teórica de una sociología de las asociaciones, el autor se cuestiona sobre lo que supone la palabra social que ha sido interpretada con diferentes presupuestos y se ha hecho del mismo vocablo un nombre impreciso e inadecuado, además se ha materializado el término como quien nombra algo concreto, de manera que lo social se convierte en un proceso de ensamblado y un tipo particular de material. Propone retomar el concepto original para hacer las debidas conexiones y descubrir el contenido estricto de las cuestiones que están conectadas bajo la sociedad.
Article
This paper documents the life history of the Tahltan materials from northwestern British Columbia collected by James A. Teit in 1912 and 1915 for the Geological Survey of Canada. The paper situates the collector's work in the social and institutional contexts that influenced his activities, gives recognition to the Tahltan people who contributed to the collection’s construction, and provides an overview of how the collection is currently organized in the Canadian Museum of Civilization (CMC). I address the questions: what is the life history of this collection? and what constitutes this collection today? Naming and classifying activities, macro-systems of museum classification, contribute to, and indeed create, the dispersed nature of large museum collections. Removed from communities and social settings, assembled 'artefacts' are dispersed to central holding agencies far afield from ethnographic sites and the originating peoples. Thus, the paper focusses on the relationship between field collecting and museum collections as archival records exemplified by the collection assembled by Teit in northwestern British Columbia. Further, the paper addresses the issues arising from the report of the Task Force on Museums and First Peoples (1992). The conclusions of the Task Force call for improved access to collections by aboriginal peoples and point to the pressing need to carry out inventories of existing collections. Originally created to accommodate and even facilitate academic research, museum classification practices actually impede the implementation of the Task Force's recommendations.
Article
In this study, patterns of prehistoric trepanation in the southern highlands of Peru were examined through an analysis of 11 Cuzco-region burial sites. Trepanations were found in 66 individuals, with several individuals exhibiting more than one trepanation, for a total of 109 perforations observed. The predominant methods used were circular cutting and scraping-methods that proved highly successful with an overall 83% survival rate and little ensuing infection. Survival rates showed a significant increase over time, apparently reflecting improvements in trepanation technique through experimentation and practical experience. Practitioners avoided certain areas of the cranium and employed methods that reduced the likelihood of damage to the cerebral meninges and venous sinuses. In many cases, trepanation as a medical treatment appears to have been prompted by cranial trauma, a finding that corroborates other studies pointing to cranial trauma as a primary motivation for the surgical procedure.
Construcción de nación, racismo y desigualdad: Una perspectiva histórica del desarrollo institucional en el Perú
  • Paulo Drinot
Drinot, Paulo. 2006. "Construcción de nación, racismo y desigualdad: Una perspectiva histórica del desarrollo institucional en el Perú." In Construir instituciones: Democracia, desarrollo, y desigualdad en el Perú desde 1980, edited by John Crabtree, 11-31. Lima: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos.
Knowing Things: Exploring the Collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum
  • Chris Gosden
  • Frances Larson
Gosden, Chris, and Frances Larson. 2007. Knowing Things: Exploring the Collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum, 1884-1945. New York: Oxford University Press.
Cradle of Gold: The Story of Hiram Bingham, the Extraordinary Explorer who Uncovered Machu Picchu and the Lost History of the Incas
  • Christopher Heaney
Heaney, Christopher. 2010. Cradle of Gold: The Story of Hiram Bingham, the Extraordinary Explorer who Uncovered Machu Picchu and the Lost History of the Incas. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
The San Diego World's Fairs and Southwestern Memory: 1880-1940
  • Matthew F Bokovoy
Bokovoy, Matthew F. 2005. The San Diego World's Fairs and Southwestern Memory: 1880-1940. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.
A Most Peculiar Man: The Life and Times of Aleš Hrdlička
  • Stephen Loring
  • Miroslav Prokopec
Loring, Stephen, and Miroslav Prokopec. 1994. "A Most Peculiar Man: The Life and Times of Aleš Hrdlička." In Reckoning with the Dead: The Larsen Bay Repatriation and the Smithsonian Institution, edited by Tamara L. Bray and Thomas Killion, 26-42. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press.