Revised Research Idea

For my revised research topic, I plan to analyze the cosmological ideas of late medieval Europeans and the Inca pre-contact, focusing on how these peoples interpreted the universe. This subject is important because it highlights the ways in which people from different parts of the globe attempted to order the universe, demonstrating that all humans—even those whom Europeans considered to be different and separate from their own society—contemplate about the universe and their place within it. No matter their culture, the universe was something that many people thought about, yet Europeans considered their own perspectives and modes of understanding to be superior to those of the Inca. This demonstrates the Eurocentric worldview of Europeans both pre- and post-contact

Primary sources:

  1. Bernabe Cobo’s History of the Inca Empire, translated by Roland Hamilton. This is a Spanish Jesuit’s perspective on Incan culture from the seventeenth century, which therefore reflects a colonial point of view.
  2. Artistotle’s On the Heavens, a text that was written around 350 BC. Aristotle’s ideas about the universe provided an extensive foundation for later medieval European cosmology.

Secondary sources:

  1. Clive Ruggels – Ancient Astronomy: An Encyclopedia of Cosmologies and Myth
  2. Bryan E. Penprase – The Power of Stars
  3. Edward Grant – “The Medieval Cosmos: Its Structure and Operation”
  4. Susan Elizabeth – To Feed and Be Fed: The Cosmological Bases of Authority and Identity in the Andes
  5. Johan Reinhard – Machu Picchu: Exploring an Ancient Sacred Center
  6. Anthony F. Aveni – Stairways to the Stars: Skywatching in Three Great Ancient Cultures

4 thoughts on “Revised Research Idea

  1. Jaz

    I think this is really interesting. However, I would urge you to look beyond the traditional types of acceptable sources and find an image to analyze or another type of performative source.

  2. Keara

    I am curious to know if any of their ideas and understandings of the stars are the same or similar between the Europeans and the Inca. You could also look at how they measured time with the sky. Where any of their practices ( i.e. planting, harvesting, ceremonies) dictated by where the cosmos were. it would also be interesting to know if they were accurate in their measurements, and how they did their measurements in general.

  3. Zachary Milko

    This topic will be very interesting as I feel like it is not very well thought about or looked into by any average historian learning about Latin America. I am very intrigued by this topic and hope to hear more about it soon!

  4. Katie Holt

    Great history of science/ history of philosophy topic! I look forward to learning more about this. Let me know if you need more sources for the Inca side of your research.


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