Northwestern Events Calendar


Unthinkable Indians: Garcilaso, Guaman Poma and the Beginnings of Critical Race Theory

When: Wednesday, April 5, 2017
5:30 PM - 7:00 PM  

Where: Kresge Hall, 3535, 1880 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Walther Maradiegue Montano  

Group: Andean Cultures and Histories Working Group (Buffett Institute)

Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Category: Lectures & Meetings


Prof. Gonzalo Lamana (University of Pittsburgh) offers an alternative interpretation of how the two most important Amerindian colonial thinkers conceived the order of things in the Andes at the turn of the 17th-century.

Shifting away from the predominant scholarly view that sees Indian-Spanish relations through ethnic (cross-cultural) lenses, it argues that the thinkers in question are the pioneers of critical race studies in América and, as such, the first postcolonial Indians. It is because Garcilaso de la Vega and Guaman Poma de Ayala belong to the same tradition, and in fact are the forefathers, of like W.E.B. Du Bois, Frantz Fanon, James Baldwin or Gerald Vizenor that they were unthinkable four hundred years ago –and largely remain so. After presenting Garcilaso’s and Guaman Poma’s ideas about life in a world in which discrimination and coloniality are the norm, and their projects to change the way in which people see and live that world, Prof. Lamana will discuss connections between their ideas and projects and those of the aforementioned 20th-century thinkers.

Gonzalo Lamana is Associate Professor of Latin American Literature and Cultural Studies in the Department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh. His research interests explore questions of colonialism and subalternity, race and visuality, meaning-making, and historical change. Although his area of specialty is colonial Latin America—and in particular the Andean region—he also explores these questions through a comparative, cross-area and time study of colonial and postcolonial dynamics.

His publications include Domination Without Dominance: Inca-Spanish Encounters in early-colonial Peru (Duke, 2008) and Pensamiento Crítico Colonial: Textos y actos de Polo Ondegardo (2012, CBC-IFEA), and he is currently finishing a book manuscript provisionally titled “Unthinkable Indians: Race, Coloniality and Metanoia according to Garcilaso and Guaman Poma.”

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