Morality and Demons : Indigenous Resistance in Guaman Poma’s Nueva Corónica
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The Spanish arrival in Peru began a continuous process of cosmological interlocking and redefinition under the colonial structure. Political and economic control necessitated domination of the spirit alongside the body, which could only be achieved through the imposition of belief in the demonic to contrast with Christian doctrine, the presence of evil identifying a constant enemy to moral and social stability. The complexities of religious and spiritual beliefs in the Andes under and preceding the Incan Empire challenged Christian conceptions of the world imposed by Spanish colonial ideology. Key to their respective understandings of the world was the formulation of social hierarchies, delineated by conceptions of gender. The cosmological struggle between the Spanish-Catholic and Incan-Andean worldviews is reflected in the works of Andean chroniclers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, most prominently the writing of Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, who records how colonialism worked towards the erasure and replacement of indigenous cultural identities. Through a close analysis of his Nueva Corónica y Buen Gobierno (1615), this study seeks to identify the Spanish colonial appropriation of Andean cultural practices which enabled cosmological control. In doing so, Guaman Poma’s individual literary resistance and broader societal instances of Indigenous resistance will be highlighted, and historical agency reassigned to the pre-Hispanic Andean cosmology.