22 May 2024 17:00 - 18:30 Online & SG2 Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road


An event by the Multi-Dimensional Dialogues of the Americas research network.


  • Lucrezia Milillo (PhD candidate in Social Anthropology, University of St Andrews)


Commonly known as “the Inka writing system”, khipus are Andean colourful knotted string devices for record keeping. Despite their relevance as repositories of information, as material culture, they also convey discourses about society and power. Whether behind a glass case in an ethnologic museum or worn as an insignia of authority in an Andean community, khipus manifest different ideas about knowledge, history and society. In this talk, khipus will be used as a case study to explore different and sometimes conflicting narratives about material heritage. Andean knowledge practices will be explored to think critically about Western ideas of collection, conservation, care and display of material cultural heritage.


Lent term theme

The second proposed theme of our series tackles endangered traditional knowledge across the Americas. We reflect on how fewer indigenous languages and crafts are now being spoken and fabricated in the context of dominant manufacturing industries and languages, which are perceived to be socially and economically more valuable than minority languages and traditional ways of living. In this theme, we also discuss and offer recent cases of studies where digital media tools provide a new pathway for transmitting and conserving oral cultures and protecting everyday objects, traditional technological systems and other material cultures that are threatened by extinction. 

For enquiries please contact the Research Networks Programme Manager.

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