Moon, Sun and Witches - Gender Ideologies and Class in Inca and Colonial Peru

Author(s): Irene Marsha Silverblatt


When the Spanish arrived in Peru in 1532, men of the Inca Umpireworshipped the Sun as Father and their dead kings as ancestor heroes, while women venerated the Moon and her daughters, the Incaqueens, as founders of female dynasties. In the pre-Inca period suchnotions of parallel descent were expressions of complementarity betweenmen and women. Examining the interplay between gender ideologiesand political hierarchy. Irene Silverblatt shows how Inca rulersused their Sun and Moon traditions as methods of controllingwomen and the Andean peoples the Incas conquered. She then exploresthe process by which the Spaniards employed European maleand female imageries to establish their own rule in Peru and to makenew inroads on the power of native women, particularly poor peasantwomen. Harassed economically and abused sexually, Andean womenfought back, earning in the process the Spaniards' condemnation aswitches. Fresh from the European witch hunts that damnedwomen for susceptibility to heresy and diabolic influence, Spanishclerics were predisposed to charge politically disruptive poor womenwith witchcraft. Professor Silverblatt shows that these very accusationsprovided women with an ideology of rebellion and a method fordefending their culture.

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Product Information

General Fields

  • : 9780691022581
  • : Princeton University Press
  • : Princeton University Press
  • : 0.432
  • : May 1987
  • : 1.827 Centimeters X 14 Centimeters X 21.4 Centimeters
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Irene Marsha Silverblatt
  • : Paperback
  • : English
  • : very good
  • : 304