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Decolonizing the Sodomite

Decolonizing the Sodomite

Michael J. Horswell
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    Decolonizing the Sodomite
    Book Description:

    Early Andean historiography reveals a subaltern history of indigenous gender and sexuality that saw masculinity and femininity not as essential absolutes. Third-gender ritualists,Ipas, mediated between the masculine and feminine spheres of culture in important ceremonies and were recorded in fragments of myths and transcribed oral accounts. Ritual performance by cross-dressed men symbolically created a third space of mediation that invoked the mythic androgyne of the pre-Hispanic Andes. The missionaries and civil authorities colonizing the Andes deemed these performances transgressive and sodomitical.

    In this book, Michael J. Horswell examines alternative gender and sexuality in the colonial Andean world, and uses the concept of the third gender to reconsider some fundamental paradigms of Andean culture. By deconstructing what literary tropes of sexuality reveal about Andean pre-Hispanic and colonial indigenous culture, he provides an alternative history and interpretation of the much-maligned aboriginal subjects the Spanish often referred to as "sodomites." Horswell traces the origin of the dominant tropes of masculinist sexuality from canonical medieval texts to early modern Spanish secular and moralist literature produced in the context of material persecution of effeminates and sodomites in Spain. These values traveled to the Andes and were used as powerful rhetorical weapons in the struggle to justify the conquest of the Incas.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-79624-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. INTRODUCTION Transculturating Tropes of Sexuality, Tinkuy, and Third Gender in the Andes
    (pp. 1-28)

    In the late fifteenth century there was a crisis in the succession of Inca rulers in Tawantinsuyu—apachacuti(cataclysmic change) that became a liminal moment in the cultural reproduction of the Andean social body and in the transition of Inca imperial bodies from one generation to another.¹ As recounted in the first epigraph above, to mediate the tension created during this time of change, the Inca summoned to Cuzco a queer figure, thechuqui chinchay, or the apo de losotorongos, a mountain deity of the jaguars who was the patron of dual-gendered indigenous peoples.² While we do not...

  5. One BARBUDOS, AFEMINADOS, AND SODOMITAS: Performing Masculinity in Premodern Spain
    (pp. 29-67)

    In this chapter I trace the performance of gender and sexuality in the Iberian Peninsula from medieval to early-modern times by reading primary texts from different genres and different historical moments. In addition to contextualizing these readings in a history of the treatment of non-normative sexuality, namely, sodomy, as it relates to the future colonizing power, premodern Spain, it is important to explore the constructs of masculinity and femininity as they appear in the protonational Spanish discourse. While it is clear from the historiographic record that premodern authorities, both ecclesiastical and civil, proscribed sexual acts, this historiography does not always...

  6. Two DECOLONIZING QUEER TROPES OF SEXUALITY: Chronicles and Myths of Conquest
    (pp. 68-113)

    Queer tropes of sexuality appear in the pages of Conquest narratives from the first expeditions to the Americas. The sodomitical tropes recorded in this colonial discourse are more than mere “medieval artifacts,” as I understand Mark Jordan’s use of the term in his theological history of sodomy.¹ To understand the full impact of the trope, Jordan’s use of “artifact” needs to be complemented by the word’s secondary meaning: “any object made by human work; esp. a simple or primitive tool, weapon, vessel, etc.”² Rather than remaining static and relegated to medieval archives, the primitive sodomy trope reappeared at the dawn...

  7. Three FROM SUPAY HUACA TO QUEER MOTHER: Revaluing the Andean Feminine and Androgyne
    (pp. 114-166)

    One of the more enigmatic pre-Columbian sculptured vessels recovered from the Andean region is a Mocheguacoof a seated figure whose braided hair and headdress signal that she is a woman.¹ A closer look reveals, however, that the molded figure is apparently a hermaphrodite, depicted with both a vagina and a penis, in the process of guiding a sharp instrument toward the ambiguous site of his/her genitals. Holding the penis with one hand, he/she directs a blade to its base in an apparent gesture of castration (Figure 4).

    This figure offers us an interesting puzzle: Why is the hermaphrodite...

  8. Four CHURCH AND STATE: Inventing Queer Penitents and Tyrannical Others
    (pp. 167-229)

    Andean notions of the feminine and the androgyne, ritually represented by third-gender subjects and analyzed and characterized in Chapters 2 and 3, experienced a transformation in the waning years of the sixteenth century. Rather than being erased by the more stringent civil and ecclesiastical texts, indigenous gender culture was transculturated and left in colonial discourse as “an abiding falsehood.” Indeed, as we have seen, one cannot speak of “sodomites” or “third genders” without recognizing these figures as discursive constructs, tropes with a history, or performative subjects of ritual liminality. The textual descriptions offered in the preceding pages, drawn from chronicles,...

  9. Five SUBALTERN HYBRIDITY?: Inca Garcilaso and the Transculturation of Gender and Sexuality in the Comentarios Reales
    (pp. 230-258)

    In this chapter I consider yet another historian writing from thechaupibetween two cultures, the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega.¹ I am interested in exploring the “darker side” of his “subaltern” identity and the complexities of cultural hybridization in his seminal “mestizo” text,Comentarios reales de los Incas(1609), while weighing the limitations of recent theoretical characterizations of one of Latin America’s founding fathers of counterhegemonic colonial writing.² The queer neoculturations produced from hischaupiare not unique to the hegemonic early-modern gender and sexual ideology, but are strange to and transgressive of pre-Hispanic Andean gender culture. We must...

  10. EPILOGUE Dancing the Tinkuy, Mediating Difference
    (pp. 259-266)

    Tinkuymediates and produces difference out of the union of complementary opposites. It is tempting, therefore, to celebrate Inca Garcilaso’sComentarios realesas an example of atinkuyconsciousness, as a hybrid bridge between subaltern Andean and hegemonic Spanish cultures. The consequences of the transculturation of Andean gender and sexuality, however, cannot be appreciated without reading the entire corpus of Andean colonial historiography from the queer margins of Renaissance hegemony. This reading reveals what was sacrificed from Inca Garcilaso’s understanding of Andean culture, that which he was unwilling to embrace as a new subject of miscegenation who had crossed the...

  11. NOTES
    (pp. 267-300)
    (pp. 301-322)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 323-331)