ANTHRCUL 158 - First Year Seminar in Anthropology
Section: 001 Khipu, Cloth, and Chronicles: A History of Information in the Andes
Term: FA 2013
Subject: Anthropology, Cultural (ANTHRCUL)
Department: LSA Anthropology
Course Note:
A small seminar designed to introduce entering students to the discipline of Anthropology, its history, and to the concept of "culture," which is at the heart of anthropological research methods and theories. Students will develop analytical and intellectual skills that will help them understand and negotiate the complex world we live in, and to become familiar with the evolutionary processes responsible for humans in all their diversity.
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Enrollment restricted to first-year students, including those with sophomore standing.
Other Course Info:
May not be included in an Anthropology major.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

When the Spanish landed on the coast of Peru in 1532, they encountered a culture without wheels or writing. Even without these basic technologies, the Inka empire was vast, well organized, and rich in textiles, stonework, and gold. Khipus, an intricate textile-based record-keeping system, were critical tools in Inka political and economic control. While learning what is known about the history of the Inka empire and the early colonial period in the Andes, this seminar explores questions such as:

  • How can we “read” history without texts?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of different record-keeping systems?
  • What effect does medium have on the organization of information?
  • How many levels of translation are involved when interpreting Spanish chronicles of the conquest and early colonial period in the Andes?

Students will be expected to consider and discuss not only texts, but material culture, especially textiles.

Course Requirements:

No data submitted

Intended Audience:

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Class Format:


ANTHRCUL 158 - First Year Seminar in Anthropology
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 0292755597
Narrative of the Incas, Author: by Juan de Betanzos. Transl. and ed. by Roland Hamilton and Dana Buchanan from the Palma de Mallorca ms., Publisher: Univ. of Texas Pr. 2. paperba 1996
ISBN: 0292769032
Narrative threads : accounting and recounting in Andean Khipu, Author: ed. by Jeffrey Quilter and Gary Urton., Publisher: Univ. of Texas Pr. 1. ed. 2002
ISBN: 0631176772
The Incas, Author: Terence N. D'Altroy., Publisher: Blackwell [Pbk. ed.] 2003
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 087081821X
An Inca account of the Conquest of Peru, Author: by Titu Cusi Yupanqui ; translated, introduced, and annotated by Ralph Bauer., Publisher: University Press of Colorado 2005
ISBN: 9780521197793
A history of the Khipu, Author: Galen Brokaw., Publisher: Cambridge University Press 2010
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