Fellows' Talks: Tara Bynum and Isabel Yaya McKenzie

January 30, 2019 - 4:00pm

Please join us for presentations by short-term fellows Tara Bynum and Isabel Yaya McKenzie.


Tara Bynum (Hampshire College), Hodson Trust-John Carter Brown Library Fellow

"Archival Pleasures; Or, Phillis Wheatley Was Never Alone"

When we think of Phillis Wheatley, she’s often alone and extraordinary. But what if the library and its holdings have a different story to tell? It’s a story about coastal communities and Atlantic world networks that turn the extraordinary into the ordinariness of 18th century living—even while enslaved or nominally free.

Isabel Yaya McKenzie (Laboratoire d’anthropologie sociale, Paris), Alice E. Adams Fellow

"Death is neither the end, nor the beginning. Another look at the fate of dead Inca kings"

Spanish chronicles commonly use the term “lineage” (linaje) to describe the royal factions that made up the ruling elite of the Inca Empire. Colonial sources have it that these 10 to 12 noble groups were composed of the respective descendants of every deceased ruler whose memory, estate but also mummified body had been preserved. By the late sixteenth-century, chroniclers claimed that each Inca royal faction would have attended to the mummy bundle of its prestigious ancestor, while supervising his residences and lands to maintain the dead’s afterlife sustenance. Yet, a critical reading of early Spanish testimonies casts a doubt on this narrative. This talk revisits the historical documentation on the fate of dead Inca kings and discusses the repercussions early testimonies have on our views of Inca kinship and descent.


Details to follow. The Reading Room will close to researchers at 3:30pm.