Event: [CANCELLED] Friday Seminar: "Blood Weddings: the Inkas, the Habsburgs, and Royal Incest"

Date & Time

May 26, 2017 - 4:00pm to 6:00pm

Contact Information

Matthew Swanson


Fowler A222

Event Type

Friday Seminar

Event Details

NOTE: This Friday Seminar has been cancelled. 

Speaker: Dr. Jeremy Mumford, Assistant Professor, Department of History, Brown University

In 1558, in Spanish Peru, the Inka princess Cusi Huarcay married her brother, Sayri Thupa, with the blessing of the Catholic bishop of Cuzco, carrying the Inka tradition of sibling marriage into the colonial era. In 1570, King Philip V of Spain married his niece Anna of Austria, the daughter of his cousin and his sister. Each marriage reflected a royal practice of close-kin marriage forbidden to ordinary people, in Peru just as in Europe. Scholars have never seen them as comparable: on the one hand, the apparent magical thinking of the Inkas, who believed kings were descended from the Sun and should not pollute their blood with outsiders; on the other the apparent pragmatism of European monarchs, for whom endogamy was a tool in geopolitical strategy. In fact, there was pragmatism behind the magic and magic behind the pragmatism. In both kingdoms, close-kin marriage was a way that kings and queens sacralized themselves through breaking the most intimate and dangerous of laws. This research project, juxtaposing these two traditions of power and sexuality, opens a window into how entangled states create a shared political culture under colonialism.