Ukhu Mankakuna: Culinary Representations in Quechua Cultural Texts
Krogel, Alison Marie
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This dissertation explores culinary representations within colonial and contemporary Quechua texts selected from the genres of oral narrative, photography, painting, historical chronicle, song, poetry and the novel. The first chapter presents a cultural history of Andean foodstuffs, as well as an ethnographic narrative based on interviews with vendors and cooks in the Cuzco Central Market. The ensuing analysis reveals some of the conflicts and negotiations associated with the market's hierarchy of profits and prestige. Chapter two focuses on pre-colonial and colonial culinary representations as portrayed in various Incaic Quechua hymns, the Comentarios reales and religious canvases, while the third chapter explores contemporary representations of Quechua female cooks in <em>Los ríos profundos</em>, Asunta Quispe Huamán's <em>Autobiografia</em> and the photographs of Martín Chambi. Chapter four discusses the representation of the malevolent <em>layqa wayk'uq</em> ('witch cook') in a number of Quechua <em>willakuy</em> (oral narrations) which I recorded, transcribed and translated in highland villages of Southern Perú. In analyzing the nuances and levels of meaning contained within examples of Quechua expressive art, I offer semantic and syntactic readings of the texts while also considering the socio-economic, historical and political contexts in which they were created. I also explore the ways in which Quechua artists manipulate the representation of Andean foodstuffs and cooks as an oppositional tactic for evading and manipulating the repressive tendencies of powerful political, economic and social discourses. I argue that in these texts, the 'everyday practice' of cooking allows Quechua women to take an active role in shaping their society and the lives of their families and community. In addition to exploring some of the unique aspects of Quechua aesthetic expression in both colonial and contemporary texts, this dissertation concludes with a discussion of food politics and policies in contemporary Perú. Scholars studying food's role in society have long provided important insights in disciplines such as history, philosophy, anthropology, literature and sociology. By strategically crossing over these disciplinary boundaries in choosing theoretical and methodological tools, this dissertation creates a dialogue with the fields of Andean Studies, Latin American Studies, Native American Studies, Comparative Literature, Anthropology and Food Studies.