Posted by: Johan Normark | April 16, 2009

Agrarian practice, encounters and social logics. Europe and the Americas 1500-1800

Apart from my own projects, described on a separate page, I am currently co-writing a proposal for a joint project. The others are my old thesis advisor Per Cornell (archaeologist and main applicant), Maria Clara Medina (historian) and Ingemar Söhrman (sociolinguist). The project aims at discussing in detail the effects of the Spanish conquest in two regions of the Americas, the Calchaqui Valley in northwest Argentina and the Cochuah region in Mexico. These areas have different natural settings and we wish to study in detail the effects of the Spanish conquest in relation to agriculture and the distributions of settlements. The social forms of the “Amerindians” were not uniform; they varied considerably, and these variations must be addressed in order to find the logics to a particular encounter. Further, the advent of the Spaniards (and other Europeans), indirectly or directly, did produce major effects both on the environment and the conditions for agriculture, and we would like to look closer at these. The innovative capacities of the Amerindian population has often been forgotten, and – strangely – the new agricultural forms emerging from new types of combinations of European and Amerindian agricultural technology have rarely been discussed. The effects of the social encounters will thus be in focus in this project. The project will combine archaeology, history and sociolinguistic methods.

I worked with Per and Maria Clara in the Calchaqui Valley 11 years ago. I probably post something on that fieldwork later when I have time to scan my old slides. The most memorable song from that field season, apart from Cumbia music, was Barbie Girl by Aqua. It had just become a huge hit in Argentina and it annoyed us all throughout the whole season.


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