2014-2015 Colloquium Series

The Tourism Studies Working Group is pleased to announce
Heritage Tourism and Performances of Indigeneity in Cusco, Peru

Catherine Elisabeth Covey
(Pd.D. Candidate, Architecture, UC Berkeley)

Friday, November 14, 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Gifford Room, 221 Kroeber Hall
University of California, Berkeley
On May 21, 1950, a devastating local earthquake destroyed much of Andean Cusco’s modern urban infrastructure and revealed its imperial Inca foundations. Contextualized by post-WWII optimism and institution building, this event captured the interest and resources of the newly formed United Nations. Two separate missions were dispatched to assess the damage: UNESCO’s humanitarian objectives were to uncover, evaluate, and safeguard Cusco’s “past” through architectural reconstruction and preservation programs. On the other hand, the UN’s Technical Assistance Administration’s mission evaluated highland Peruvian people and their culture as a potential resource for international development. These post-earthquake interventions launched more than six decades of Peruvian partnerships with the United Nations in regional development and tourism and became models for national heritage/patrimonial institutions like the National Institute of Culture (INC). Using the Historic Center as a focal point, this talk will discuss how these perspectives have played out within the spaces of Cusco and will look at shifting representations of “Inca” as part of the contemporary experience of this World Heritage city.

Speaker Bio:
Catherine Elisabeth Covey is an advanced doctoral student in the Department of Architecture at UC Berkeley. Cathy’s research focuses on the complex relationships between international institutions (such as UNESCO), domestic patrimony, and the “heritage industry” – in particular how these have come to characterize the contemporary built environment over time. Grounded in field and archival work as well as foundational Quechua language studies in Peru, her dissertation examines the long-term implications of creating a Historic Center in the Andean city of Cusco, starting from its highly political post-earthquake reconstruction in 1950.

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