introduction: situated interventions
1. All data on editions are from WorldCat, accessed 20 February 2007. Prescott fin-
ished his work in 1847, John Hemming in 1970. The genre continues to be prolific;
see, for instance, Kim MacQuarrie’s 2007 The Last Days of the Incas.
2. Jared Diamond (1997:68–81) also gives historical agency to other tropes of Western
imagination, such as epidemics, literacy, and political centralization, factors that
eventually provide the context for social agency, not agency itself. Thus, epidemics
do not explain Atahualpa’s presence in Cajamarca; knowledge-wise Europe was
not necessarily more advanced than the Incas—who also had a writing system;
and the Spaniards were in America not propelled by Spain’s political centraliza-
tion, but because they wanted to go to China and India—the economic center of
their world—and had no other choice but to sail westward (Dussel 1998).
3. Native peoples begin to appear as agents in Peruvian notarial records only toward
the 1560s, once the transition is over.
4. Current accounts also use probanzas, but most often to add details to the standard
master narrative.
5. All translations of Spanish originals are mine; I have strived to preserve the incon­
gruences of the original texts. Readers interested in the original Spanish text of
archival quotes can find most of them in my doctoral dissertation. In the case of
indigenous words, I have adopted their most usual Hispanized spelling, adding ac-
cents according to modern Spanish use.
1. beyond exotization and likeness
1. A panaca was either a lineage composed of all descendants of an Inca, excluding the
next Inca and his descendants (Rowe 1985), or a unit of a complex, rotational post
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