The Inca’s Witches: Gender and the Cultural Work of Colonization in Seventeenth Century Peru

Book Section

Inquisitors considered "witches" to be a colonial plague. This essay explores the history of the charges made agsinst these women and, in the process, uncovers patterns linking discourses of gender and race to political ideologies. Accused witches, nearly always women, came from all of the colony’s racial clases except "indio". Some were Spanish, others mestizos, mulattas, and blacks. Nevertheless, bu the early seventeenth century they were condemed for sorcery that depended on Ineian prayers, herbs, language and sacred ohjects. By the middle of the seventeenth century, non-Indian witches were charged with practicing an Inca-centered form of sorcery. The essay argues that this presumed, unholy alliance was also a political charge, steeped in discourses not usually used in the West – a nascent, gendered expression of creole belief.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Silverblatt, I

Cited Editors

  • St. George, R

Published Date

  • 2000

Book Title

  • Possible Pasts: Becoming Colonial in Early America

Start / End Page

  • 109 - 130

Published By

Place of Publication

  • Ithaca, NY