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Large Llamas with Silver Shoes

In: Society & Animals
Author: V.G.A. Goss1
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  • 1 Department of Engineering and Design, London South Bank Universitygossga@lsbu.ac.uk
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Drawing upon contemporary accounts, this paper analyzes conquistadors’ and Incas’ perceptions of each other’s ungulates—that is, camelids and horses—from the first encounters in 1532 until 1536. The paper traces the evolution of those perceptions within the wider context of human-nonhuman animal relations, which differed between Spaniards and Andeans. Those differences are reflected in the respective languages. The paper finds a tension between a sense of familiarity and a sense of otherness. That tension manifested in a supernatural realm. The paper argues that nonhuman animal relations, particularly with respect to horses, played a central role in the invasion, but as the conflict unfolded the meanings of “human” and “animal,” as understood by the protagonists, were perturbed. The paper presents a critique of Diamond’s theory of nonhuman animal domestication.

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