Stefanie Gänger

Stephanie Gänger is a Predoctoral Fellow at the Max-Planck Institute working on the project ‘Sciences of the Archive.’ She received her B.A. at the University of Augsburg, Germany and attended the University of Seville. She received her MPhil and is a PhD candidate from the University of Cambridge, in the field of Historical Studies with a focus in pre-Hispanic Material Remains. Gänger specializes in the history of Antiquarianism and Archaeology in South America and is interested in the circulation of ideas between Latin America and Europe. She is the author of the article “Conquering the Past: Post-War Archaeology and Nationalism in the Borderlands of Chile and Peru, c. 1880-1920,” published in 2009, as well as a contributing author to La Historia del Rey Transparente, published in 2003. She is currently working on a book project with Philip Kohl and Irina Podgorny entitled: Nature and Antiquities in the Americas, slated to be published through University of Arizona Press.
Stephanie Gänger’s lecture is entitled, “Relics of the Past: the Collecting and Study of Incan Artifacts in Cuzco, 1830s – 1900.” This paper traces the emergence of Inca antiquarianism - the collecting and study of objects associated with the Inca past - as a cultural practice and an intellectual concern among Cuzco elites in the nineteenth century. For most of the colonial period, the Inca had been a living memory, embodied and perpetuated in the administrative elite of Incan descent and in the continued symbolic power of material culture associated with the pre-Hispanic era in Cuzco. In nineteenth-century antiquarian collections, however, the Inca past was reconfigured into a lost world, and its materials, re-envisioned as the relics of a bygone time. The re-signification of the indigenous past correlated with a broader change in the way indigeneity and Europeanness were conceived in the period, and distinctly reflected the political transformations which occurred in Peru during the early 1800s. At the same time, however, many inhabitants of the Southern Andes continued to use and produce the same material culture associated with the pre-Hispanic period that antiquaries were assembling in their cabinets. To these Andeans, the objects symbolized not a lost world, but their own, not time’s depth, but its continuance. Cuzco collections, thus, embody the peculiar complexities of nineteenth-century Southern Andean society. This paper examines how different historical temporalities in relation to the Inca past variously coexisted with and displaced each other.