Tag Archives: Bard Graduate Center

Symposium: Khipus: Writing Histories In and From Knots, The Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Book Prize Symposium, Bard Graduate Center, New York, 1 February 2019


Khipu RN9027, from the Casa del Kipu deposit at Pachacamac; courtesy of Denise Pozzi-Escot, director, Pachacamac site museum; photograph by Rommel Angeles.

There has been much concern and criticism in the West over the absence of the voices of “peoples without history” in the writing of local, regional, and global histories. This concern has been especially profound insofar as it pertains to societies that did not have in the past, or that do not have today, their own traditions of written history. The Inkas of the Pre-Columbian Andes represent a striking case study in this regard, because, while Inka administrators had the use of an exceptionally complex and highly efficient instrument for record keeping, in the knotted-string khipu (or quipu, “knot”), we have not to date been able to draw historical information from these knotted records for writing a history of the Inka Empire. Gary Urton’s recently published book, Inka History in Knots: Reading Khipus as Primary Sources (Univ. of Texas Press, 2017), lays out a methodology for approaching khipu accounts as sources for writing Annales-style histories of the Inka state—i.e., histories based on administrative data, such as censuses, tribute records, storehouse accounts, etc. This symposium brings together eight Andean scholars to discuss and debate the question of whether or not, and if so how, we might draw on knotted cord accounts from the pre-Inka Wari, the Inka empire, and those from Andean subjects of the Spanish Colonial state in order to begin to understand how Andean peoples constructed representations of their own societies. The principal challenges will be, first, to identify the structures, physical features, organizational principles, and semiotic properties of cord accounts in these different periods in the Andean past, and second, to determine how we might draw on these constructions to begin to write histories of Andean societies based on Andean sources.


9:30 am
Peter N. Miller
Bard Graduate Center
Gary Urton
Harvard University

9:50 am
Gary Urton
Harvard University
Finding Time for History in the Inka Khipus

10:30 am
Jeffrey C. Splitstoser
George Washington University
The Large Wari Khipu at Dumbarton Oaks

11:10 am
Coffee Break

11:30 am
Jon Clindaniel
Harvard University
Towards an Understanding of Non-numerical Inka Khipu Semiosis: Implications for the Interpretation of Inka History Using Primary Sources

12:10 pm
Bruce Mannheim
University of Michigan
Three Commensuration Problems in Interpreting Khipus

12:50 pm
Lunch Break

2 pm
Terence N. D’Altroy
Columbia University
The Dynamic Formation of Imperial Knowledge

2:40 pm
Sabine Hyland
University of St Andrews
“These Are Our Khipus!” The Ritual Khipu Boards of Casta, Peru

3:20 pm
Coffee Break

3:40 pm
José Carlos de la Puente Luna
Texas State University
Khipus as Legal Archives: Tribute, Justice, and Controlled Translation in Early Colonial Peru

4:20 pm
Frank Salomon
University of Wisconsin–Madison
The Long Afterlives of Central-Peruvian Khipu Patrimonies

5 pm
Panel Discussion

5:40 pm

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What’s your favourite book of 2018? The Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Book Prize, deadline 1 March 2019

Horowitz_2018Bard Graduate Center welcomes submissions for the 2018 Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Book Prize, awarded annually to the best book on the decorative arts, design history, or material culture of the Americas. The prize will reward scholarly excellence and commitment to cross-disciplinary conversation. Eligible titles include monographs, exhibition catalogues, and collections of essays in any language, published in print or in digital format. The winning author(s) or editor(s) will be chosen by a committee of Bard Graduate Center faculty and will be honored with a symposium on the subject of the book. Submissions must have a 2018 publication date.

Three copies of each print title should be sent to the below address along with an entry submission form. For digital publications, please email a copy of the form along with a link to the publication and a PDF of the publication to horowitz.prize@bgc.bard.edu.

Horowitz Book Prize Committee
Bard Graduate Center
38 West 86th Street
New York, NY 10024

Submissions must be postmarked by March 1, 2019. There is no limit to the number of submissions, but please note we are unable to return items submitted for review. Incomplete submissions will not be considered. Shipping is the responsibility of the applicant and we are not able to confirm receipt of submissions. The winning title will be announced in later summer 2019.

For questions, contact Laura Minsky, Assistant Director for Research Programs, at horowitz.prize@bgc.bard.edu.

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Art and Ideology in the Twelfth-Century Western Mediterranean (New York: 15 October 2016)

2016-10-bgcBard Graduate Center
38 West 86th Street, New York City
15 October 2016, 9:00AM – 5:50PM

In the twelfth century, new powers emerged throughout the Western Mediterranean, from the Almohads of North Africa to the Norman Kingdom of Sicily. In the Iberian Peninsula, upstart rulers with broad ambitions emerged in both Muslim and Christian territories. New city-states appeared with the dissolution of the Almoravid Empire in al-Andalus, and older kingdoms, including Castile-Leon and Aragon, began massive expansions under rulers who claimed imperial titles. This symposium explores how the rulers of this region deployed art (conceived in the broadest sense) to legitimise new claims, how they asserted their authority through the construction of palatial and liturgical spaces, and what kinds of objects their kingdoms produced, traded, or coveted. Talks will investigate how these rulers looked to imperial and caliphal precedents and rivals for models, how they elaborated on these models, and which communities of artisans and workmen they drew from. By bringing together scholars who work on the component kingdoms of this region, the symposium seeks to clarify the connections among them, crossing the geographic, ethnic, and religious lines imposed by modern scholarship. In doing so, it aims to develop new models for understanding the imbricated world of the medieval Western Mediterranean. Further details, Programme & Registration here.

Sponsored by the Trehan Research Fund for Islamic Art and Material Culture in conjunction with the Spain-North Africa Project.