Steven Brian Kosiba

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Minnesota, Minneapolis-St.Paul, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9646

Approve Date

April 16, 2018

Project Title

Kosiba, Dr. Steven B., U. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN - To aid research on 'An Archaeology of Empowerment: Domestic Architecture and Community Formation in an Inca and Spanish Imperial Labor Colony (Cuzco, Peru)'

Preliminary abstract: This proposal requests funding from the Wenner Gren Foundation to support archaeological analyses (photogrammetry mapping, architectural documentation, and radiocarbon dating of building phases) at Rumiqolqa, a massive labor colony in Cuzco, Peru where forcibly resettled workers of diverse ethnicity quarried stone for Inca and Spanish imperial regimes (ca. 1450-1650 CE). The proposed research hypothesizes that workers coordinated domestic labor and house construction practices in inconspicuous ways to create a community beyond the view of state authorities. The research offers an opportunity to examine the poorly understood topic of labor in the ancient and early modern world, while also contributing to current anthropological theories of cultural resilience and colonization. First, the study moves beyond theories of colonization that assume a dichotomy of imperial domination and indigenous resistance, offering an epi-historical perspective on how diverse groups of subjugated people constituted and empowered a community despite successive waves of colonization. Second, research at a labor colony contributes a novel perspective to anthropological theories of community formation by focusing less on conspicuous markers of cultural identity, which were controlled or restricted, and more on the often hidden domestic labor practices through which workers created interdependent social relationships. Finally, with this focus on domestic labor, the research adds to current anthropological approaches to social practice by developing and employing an interactive digital database to map and trace the artifact distributions, networks of practice, and material choices through which people created social bonds and boundaries.