LAII Lecture Explores Water, Land, and Empire in the Ancient Andes

September 23, 2013

The UNM Latin American & Iberian Institute (LAII) is pleased to announce the third presentation in its Fall 2013 Lecture Series: "Water, Land, and Empire in the Ancient Andes" with Dr. Frances Hayashida, associate professor in the Department of Anthropology and a faculty affiliate with the LAII. The presentation will be held Thursday, September 26, 2013, from 12:00-1:00 p.m. in the LAII Conference Room. Please see the event flyer for reference.

Before coming to UNM, Hayashida held research fellowships at Dumbarton Oaks and the Technische Universität München and taught at the University of Virginia, Penn State, and the University of Missouri. Her research focuses on the political economy and political ecology of Andean states and empires, and her areas of interest include agriculture and water management, craft production, and beer brewing. She currently co-directs a project on agriculture and empire in the high-altitude Atacama Desert with colleagues from the Universidad de Chile and the Instituto de Ciencias del Patrimonio of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (Spain).

This presentation will examine how in the past as in the present, water is a valuable and contested resource in arid environments. While large irrigation systems can be built and managed from the bottom-up by farmers, they are vulnerable to takeover by politically powerful entities. These dynamics are explored in two regions of the Andes, the Peruvian north coast and the high-altitude Atacama Desert in Chile. In both areas, local societies devised extensive and ingenious networks of canals and fields to create productive farmlands during late prehispanic times. In both areas, imperial conquest transformed water management, agriculture, and communities. Archaeology can provide a long-term historical and comparative perspective on what happens to local landscapes and livelihoods with incorporation into larger political economies.