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topeople indifferent very differently positions in thecon Because it deploys European and Andean sys tems of meaning making, the letter necessarily means


.
production
visible, more
Poma’s text, and, like Guaman pressing, to those who once would have decipherable ignored them in defense of a stable, centered sense of knowledge reality.
and
to bilingualSpanish-Quechua speakersand to differently monolingual speakers in either language; thedrawings
mean Andean, or to monocultural readers, Spanish differently to the and to bicultural readers responding structures embodied in Andean genres. symbolic European with of considerable
bilingualism. intercultural Unfortunately, and
Contact and Community
The idea of the contact zone is intended that underlie in part to con much and of the culture ago,
In the Andes in the early 1600s thereexisteda literate
competence such a commu
trast with thinking
ideas of community about language, in the academy.
public degrees man note
communication, A couple
nitydid not exist in theSpanish courtwith which Gua
Poma was to make contact. It is to trying interesting that in the same year Guaman Poma sent off his let Peruvian was adopted in official cir
thinkingabout the linguistictheories I knew, I tried to
make sense of a Utopian social were quality of that often seemed to characterize Languages coherent petence analyses language seen as in living “speech a by the academy. communities,”
that gets done
of years
cles in Spain as the canonical Christian mediation between the Spanish conquest and Inca history. Itwas anotherhuge encyclopedicwork, titled theRoyal Com
of the Incas, written, tellingly, by a mestizo, mentaries Inca
ter, a text by another

 
as discrete,self-defined, and thesetended to be theorized
entities, held or grammar This together by abstract homogeneous and equally com among commu shared identically other of
all the members. nity seemed way book ble modern Benedict
Garcilaso de la mestizo half brother who Vega. Like the
Guaman Poma taught was the son of an Inca princess had lived in Spain since he was spoke Quechua, Spanish, life’swork without his book to read and write, and a Inca Garcilaso Spanish official,
and seventeen. he too Though in iswritten standard eloquent, While the Guaman Poma’s Royal Commentaries and present hierarchy.2 The today
idea of the speech things, themselves
to reflect, among nations conceive calls
the Utopian as what In a
Anderson
“imagined observes calls he
communities.”3 that with
of that title, Anderson exception of what
the possi villages,” inwhich
“primordial entitles
illustrations. unread,
human
communities
exist as
imagined
sat somewhere
was edited and reedited in Spain and the New World, a
mediation ways that coded the Andean past in thought unthreatening persists: the to colonial Royal
“will never know most of their fellow-members, people meet them or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives are the image of their communion.” he goes on “Communities to say, “not by
their fal
textual
remainsa staple itemon PhD reading lists in Spanish, New Chronicle and Good Government, while the despite
the ready availability of several fine editions, is not. How text did not reach its desti Poma’s ever, though Guaman currents the transcultural of expression it nation, to evolve in the Andes, as
continued still exemplifies they do, less inwriting than in storytelling, ritual, song, dance drama, painting and sculpture, dress, textile art, forms of governance, art forms. All intractable,
religious express belief, and many other vernacular contact and the effects of conflict. transculturation, mediation, critique, collabora
hierarchy

 
Commentaries
are imag but by thestyle inwhich they sity/genuineness,
ined” features (15; Anderson three mine). proposes emphasis that characterize the style inwhich the modern boundaries”; it is second,
distinguished,”
nation is imagined. First, it is imagined as limited,by
“finite, if elastic, sovereign-, and, third, imagined as it is imagined as “a fraternal, deep,
horizontalcomradeship”for which millions of people are so to aswillingly todie” (15).As “not kill much prepared fraternal metonymically in thefinite,sovereign, figureof
the citizen-soldier. Anderson argues that European bourgeoisies were dis the image suggests, the nation-community is embodied
long-term
unequal
Autoethnography, tion, bilingualism,
parody,
denunciation,
are vernacular imaginary dialogue, expression?these some of the literate arts of the contact zone. Miscompre dead hension, letters, unread master incomprehension, absolute are of pieces,
heterogeneity meaning?these some of the zone. contact in the perils of writing They all live among us in the transnationalized today metropolis
main acy play a central role in this argument. Anderson instrument that made tains, as have others, that the main bourgeois nation-building italism. The commercial ous European the projects
circulation he possible was
tinguishedby theirability to “achieve solidarityon an essentiallyimaginedbasis” (74) on a scale far greaterthan thatof elitesof other timesand places. Writing and liter
of books was
print cap in the vari what first
of theUnited States and are becoming more widely
vernaculars, invisible
argues,
created
networks
that would
eventually

 
.




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