Heidi V. Scott
Landscape is never static, but changes continuously when seen in relation to human occupation, movement, labor, and discourse. Contested Territory explores the ways in which Peru’s early colonial landscapes were experienced and portrayed, especially by the Spanish conquerors but also by their conquered subjects. It focuses on the role played by indigenous groups in shaping the Spanish experiences of landscapes, the diverse geographical images of Peru and ways in which these were constructed and contested, and what this can tell us about the nature of colonial relations in post-conquest Peru.
This exceptional study, which draws from archival records and sources such as cartographies, offers a richly nuanced view of the complexity of colonial relations. It will be read with appreciation by those interested in Spanish history, geography, and colonialism.
“Heidi Scott’s eloquently written, straightforward, and original analysis perceptively highlights how cultural preconceptions, ambitions, and desires and shifting networks of power, agency, and interest shaped on-going negotiations over the perceptions, meaning, and use of landscape and geographical knowledge. Through social and political contextualization of a text’s origins and her emphasis on the mundane, she shows that Hispanic and Amerindian populations gave diverse and frequently conflicting meaning to Andean landscapes and territories. The book will, I predict, long serve as a model and inspiration to others interested in colonial history and geography, anthropology, and environmental studies.” — Susan Ramirez, Texas Christian University
“Scott’s thesis of landscape creation is nuanced and sophisticated, convincing and compelling, one most befitting a geographer: she is very much interested in, and attuned to, regional as well as local variations. Few anthropologists or historians exhibit the sensitivities to space and scale that Scott demonstrates in piecing together her argument.” — W. George Lovell, Queen’s University
“A fine and timely study on an important topic, this well researched and well written book will be an excellent addition to scholarship on colonial studies. . . . [Scott’s] selection of texts is both original and exciting. She clearly expands the field of analysis of the complex workings of geography within the early Spanish colonial context.” — Beatriz Pastor, Dartmouth College
“The author draws upon traditional sources, especially the well-known Relaciones Geogrificas, to reflect upon the evolving perceptions of Peru’s visual environment. Scott studies not only the few pictorial maps that exist for 16th- 17th-century Peru, but also the far more abundant written descriptions of terrain and landscapes . . . Researchers and serious students of the colonial period will welcome this unique look at early Peru.” —_Choice_
“This is a well-written, carefully argued, and thoughtful book, which provides new insights into early modern perceptions of the Andean landscape . . . Scott provides a careful geographical analysis of the materials to offer fresh perspectives on how the Spanish settlers and indigenous peoples gave diverse and often conflicting views about the rich Andean landscapes before them. Scott’s analysis is also not driven by an enthusiastic adherence to a particular theory; rather she uses her training as a geographer to re-examine the ways in which Spaniards and Andeans interacted with and experienced landscape, and how this shaped their portrayals of the natural environment. This is a very rich, intriguing contribution that has much to say to historians, anthropologists, scholars in literary studies and environmental specialists.” — English Historical Review