- Domination Without Dominance: Inca-Spanish Encounters in Early Colonial Peru, and: Indigenous and Popular Thinking in America
In Domination Without Dominance Gonzalo Lamana undertakes a revision of the conquest narrative of Peru as it was developed in the sixteenth century Spanish texts and has continued to inform our current understanding of the events that began in Cajamarca in 1531 and "concluded" in Cuzco in 1550 with the death of the Inca Paullu. Departing from a careful reading of the standard narratives and sources for establishing the events of the conquest, Lamana identifies several major gaps or silences in the discursive constructions [End Page 425] of these narratives. He delves into the complexity of these silences and gaps in order to inquire into the logic of the discourse of conquest that produces them as well as the different and clashing epistemologies at play. The author makes extensive use of archival material—probanzas, court inquiries, law suits and letters. With the date and rationale embedded in these materials Lamana draws a fuller, often illuminating, and alternative picture of key events. Without the new information the events singled out by Lamana for further explanation had either remained questionable or had been given simplistic explanations that called for the assumption of the impossibility of knowing what was on the mind of Atahualpa during his imprisonment in Cajamarca or on the mind of Manco Inca when de decided to attack the Spaniards only on nights of full moon.
This book has six chapters packed full of information as well as theoretical discussions that allow Lamana to analyze the textual corpus and problem under consideration from a series of specifically honed questions. These include interpellation, mimicry, Christian realism, potency of gifts, civilizing discourse, and mestizo (double)consciousness. Lamana works with concepts that allow him to rethink questions of conquest and other colonial encounters. He often takes and modifies key terms in post-colonial theory, subaltern studies, and cultural theory. It is clear that the title establishes a conversation with Guha's Dominance Without Hegemony (Harvard UP, 1979) as well as with Antonio Gramsci's own concepts of hegemony. In the last chapter of the book, "Power as Moves: A Mid-1540s Repertoire of Flipping the Coin," Lamana's deployment of Foucault's understanding of the braiding of discourse and power, which had informed the book from the beginning, allows for an illuminating thesis (mutual mimesis and deception) in a new appreciation of the maneuvers of the Inca Paullo with respect to his Spanish captors-enemies-collaborators.
One of the most significant ways in which Lamana accomplishes his objective of providing us with an alternative understanding of the narrative of the conquest is by establishing a perspective for looking at the "facts" reported in intimate relation to the silences that constitute them as they erase Inca epistemology. In this light the "unexplainable" behavior of Atahualpa in Cajamarca (miss-recognition of the threat the Spanish posed, attempts to "negotiate" with them), Manco's "ill timed" decision to go to war, and the Inca Paullu's much decried "collaboration" with the Spanish in Cuzco first, and with Almagro later in the conquest of Chile, are rendered more accessible to the way of making sense of Western cultural and political logic. Portraying the events of the conquest of Peru as a complex play of epistemologies locked in power plays and struggles, is perhaps one of the most salient contributions of this book to the question of the formation of the colonial normal or habit memory (pp. 14, 147-57, 180-83, 228), a concept that Lamana offers here and that will prove very useful in future considerations of post-colonial situations.
The Argentine philosopher Rodolfo Kusch is a pioneer in the effort to understand indigenous thought from within it own matrix. Although absent from Lamana's bibliography, Kusch's epistemological endeavor provides a [End Page...