December 12, 2009 Lawrence Coben: "Creating an Empire:
Theatricality, Performance and Power in the Inka State"
Mr. Coben discussed how the Inca utilized ritualized performance,
spectacles and theatricality to create, grow and maintain their empire.
Performance was one of the most critical elements of the Inca's rapid
expansion from a single valley in Peru to a state that included most of
Peru and Bolivia and significant portions of Ecuador, Argentina and
Chile, all in a period of less than one hundred years. The Inca
maximized the time, resources and nature of these performances in areas
where warfare or internal strife were greatest. He also discussed the
promise and difficulties of an archaeology of performance.
Lawrence Coben is an archaeologist focused upon the Inca. His most
recent work investigates Inca imperial strategy and the archaeology of
performance. He was director of a project at the monumental site of
Incallajta in Bolivia. With Takeshi Inomata, he co-authored Archaeology
of Performance: Theater, Power and Community Altmira Press, 2006, and
has authored several articles on the Inca, archaeological site museums,
and the role of performance and spectacle in ancient society. He also
chairs the Sustainable Preservation Initiative, a joint program of the
Cotsen Center for Archaeology at UCLA and the Archaeological Institute
of America, which utilizes sustainable local economic development to
preserve global heritage around the world. More on the research
of Mr. Coben can be found at www.larrycoben.com
and on the Sustainable Preservation Initiative at www.sustainablepreservation.org.
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