The Fabric of Resistance: Textile Workshops and the Rise of Rebellious Landscapes in Colonial Peru (Historical Archaeology in South America) (Hardcover)
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Examines the long-term social conditions that enabled large-scale rebellions in late Spanish colonial Peru
The Fabric of Resistance: Textile Workshops and the Rise of Rebellious Landscapes in Colonial Peru documents the impact of Spanish colonial institutions of labor on identity and social cohesion in Peru. Through archaeological and historical lines of evidence, Di Hu examines the long-term social conditions that enabled the large-scale rebellions in the late Spanish colonial period in Peru. Hu argues that ordinary people from different backgrounds pushed back against the top-down identity categories imposed by the Spanish colonial government and in the process created a cosmopolitan social landscape that later facilitated broader rebellion.
Hu’s case study is Pomacocha, the site of an important Spanish colonial hacienda (agricultural estate) and obraje (textile workshop). At its height, the latter had more than one hundred working families and sold textiles all over the Andes. Through analysis of this site, Hu explores three main long-term causes of rebellions against Spanish oppression. First, the Spanish colonial economy provided motivation and the social spaces for intercaste (indigenous, African, and mestizo) mixing at textile workshops. Second, new hybrid cultural practices and political solidarity arose there that facilitated the creation of new rebellious identities. Third, the maturation in the eighteenth century of popular folklore that reflected the harsh nature of Spanish labor institutions helped workers from diverse backgrounds gain a systemic understanding of exploitation.
This study provides a fresh archaeological and historical perspectives on the largest and most cosmopolitan indigenous-led rebellions of the Americas. Hu interweaves analyses of society at multiple scales including fine-grained perspectives of social networks, demography, and intimate details of material life in the textile workshop. She examines a wide range of data sources including artifacts, food remains, architectural plans, account books, censuses, court documents, contracts, maps, and land title disputes.
About the Author
Di Hu is assistant professor of anthropology at James Madison University and an affiliated scholar at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center.
“The Fabric of Resistance breaks new ground in our understanding of the revolutions that occurred throughout the Andes in the late 18th century. With a deft and skillful interweaving of archaeology and historical anthropology, Hu demonstrates how the so-called “weapons of the weak”—the everyday acts of resistance to oppression—are not pale, ineffectual shadows of the violent rebellions that command the attention of historians. The author opens a window into the world of ordinary people in one village in the colonial Andes, revealing their travails, their resistance to colonial exploitation, and the stories that they would tell. Lively and engaging, this insightful study will be talked about for many years to come.”
—Sabine Hyland, author of Gods of the Andes: An Early Jesuit Account of Inca Religion and Andean Christianity