Left Coast Press Home
15% off all online book orders
30% off selected hardbacks
Quick Search    

Cover
Heads of State
Icons, Power, and Politics in the Ancient and Modern Andes
Denise Y Arnold; Christine A Hastorf
293 pp. / 6.00 x 9.00 / Jan, 2008
Paperback (978-1-59874-171-1)
Hardback (978-1-59874-170-4)
eBook (978-1-61132-517-1)
eBook Rental - 180 Days (978-1-61132-517-1)
Learn about eBooks
  
Related Interest
  - Archaeology
  - Latin American Studies

The human head has had important political, ritual and symbolic meanings throughout Andean history. Scholars have spoken of captured and trophy heads, curated crania, symbolic flying heads, head
" The work has many merits. The discussion of heterarchy certainly complements recent scholarship on the Inca empire as a solar cult that implies less centralization than the chroniclers would have readers believe and room for negotiation between the central authorities and subordinate group leadership. Their argument as to the importance of heads in centripetal (an inward-looking model where vertical perpetuation of identities in kin-like systems with closed cycles of transmission between the ancestral dead and the living) versus centrifugal (an expansive system that rests on acquisition and appropriation of alien forces from outside the group) polities proved enlightening, especially when posing that the former antedated the latter. Thoughts on the leaders as group spokesmen and their sometimes direct association with the ancestors also support historical findings from the Spanish colonial era…scholars will find the book a convenient and no doubt provocative source on heads as used for the purposes of the state. Read the complete review at: The work has many merits. The discussion of heterarchy certainly complements recent scholarship on the Inca empire as a solar cult that implies less centralization than the chroniclers would have readers believe and room for negotiation between the central authorities and subordinate group leadership. Their argument as to the importance of heads in centripetal (an inward-looking model where vertical perpetuation of identities in kin-like systems with closed cycles of transmission between the ancestral dead and the living) versus centrifugal (an expansive system that rests on acquisition and appropriation of alien forces from outside the group) polities proved enlightening, especially when posing that the former antedated the latter. Thoughts on the leaders as group spokesmen and their sometimes direct association with the ancestors also support historical findings from the Spanish colonial era…scholars will find the book a convenient and no doubt provocative source on heads as used for the purposes of the state. Read the complete review at: http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=31882 "

- Susan E. Ramirez, H-Net Reviews

"In this book Arnold and Hastorf investigate Andean cultural practices involving human heads, pursuing a theoretical approach that grounds such practices in the development of leadership, individual and group status, and sociopolitical complexity...this is a theoretically interesting stance and a creative collaboration between an ethnographer and an archaeologist."

- R. Alan Covey, Journal of Anthropological Research

"Heads of State provides the most straightforward example of the distinctions inherent in Andean archaeology...it establishes an unambiguous link between, on the one hand, an archaeological record that offers abundant evidence, at least in certain periods and places, of both trophy heads and ancestor veneration; and on the other, the recent ethnography of such practices by some societies...Arnold and Hastorf have produced a book that will stimulate much fresh thinking and debate."

- David Beresford-Jones, Antiquity

"Overall, this text engages well with recent treatises about the political and social aspects of warfare and heads in the Andean region...The authors deftly weave together ethnographic, ethnohistoric, and archaeological information to create a more nuanced history of Andean headtaking, one in which the use of heads was politically manipulated."

- Corina M. Kellner, Current Anthropology

"...if discussions and debate are generated from the ideas proposed in this book, I think Arnold and Hastorf will be satisfied. They recognize that some of their ideas are controversial, and in their conclusion they encourage others to elaborate on the models they propose."

- John W. Verano, American Anthropologist

" The human head or skull has a long history of use and representation in many regions of ancient South America, and thus the provocative Heads of State volume is a welcome addition to the growing literature on the socio-political roles of human body parts. "

- Erica Hill, Cambridge Archaeological Journal

"Heads of State is provocative…this book is well worth reading because it provides a new perspective on the foundations of Andean political economy. Arnold and Hastorf have rescued the head from its banishment into the ritual realm by archaeologists and show its associated powers were central to the political process. We should all be grateful. "

- Justin Jennings, Latin American Studies

"The basic content and premise of the book are interesting in that the authors attempt to synthesise multiple elements in order to create a diachronic model for the prolonged use of heads in the Andes. The ethnographic information is wonderfully in-depth and the inclusion of a multi-lingual glossary was a thoughtful addition for those unfamiliar with the languages in use in the area."

- Leigh Stork, Archaeological Review from Cambridge

"One of the many ways in which Denise Arnold and Christine Hastorf’s new book Heads of State can be read is as a novel intervention in the complex methodological interface where Andean archaeology meets ethnography and ethnohistory. To my knowledge, Heads is the first major monograph on an Andean topic to be co-written by an ethnographer and an archaeologist. As such, its implications extend beyond the more specific topic the book seeks to address… In short, there is no lack of novel ideas presented in Heads of State. Read the complete review at: http://traumwerk.stanford.edu/archaeolog/2009/01/ review_heads_of_state_icons_po.html"

- Parker VanValkenburgh, Archaeolog

"In a fascinating study, Arnold and Hastorf address a perduring problem in anthropological theory--the institutionalization of social inequality and the centralization of political and economic power. They innovatively explore this issue through a detailed analysis of the ritual procurement, exchange, and curation of heads in both prehistoric and contemporary Andean polities. This should appeal to scholars of Andean studies and serve as an important resource for students interested in the anthropology of warfare, violence, sacrifice, and political economy. Summing Up: Highly recommended. "

- E. R. Swenson, University of Toronto, CHOICE

imagery on pots and on stone, head-shaped vessels, and linguistic references to the head. In this synthesizing work, cultural anthropologist Denise Arnold and archaeologist Christine Hastorf examine the cult of heads in the Andes—past and present—to develop a theory of its place in indigenous cultural practice and its relationship to political systems. Using ethnographic and archaeological fieldwork, highland-lowland comparisons, archival documents, oral histories, and ritual texts, the authors draw from Marx, Mauss, Foucault, Assadourian, Viveiros del Castro and other theorists to show how heads shape and symbolize power, violence, fertility, identity, and economy in South American cultures.



    © 2014 Left Coast Press Inc. 1630 N. Main Street #400 | Walnut Creek, California 94596
    925-935-3380 (phone) | 925 935-2916 (fax) | | Contact Us | facebook | facebook