12 November 2021 — 12:00 noon — online

Christopher Heaney (Pennsylvania State University)

“The Mismeasure of Incas: Samuel George Morton and a Peruvian Foundation for American Anthropology”

From 1820 through 1920, American anthropologists acquired more Andean human remains than from any other individual population worldwide. Samuel George Morton, the Smithsonian, Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, and the American Museum of Natural History all made “ancient Peruvians” core to their collections, asserting authority over the Americas’ racialized past and present by using “ancient Peruvians” as a historic set against which living Native Americans might be compared. This paper seeks to reframe the rise of anthropology and craniology as disciplinary practices by paying particular attention to the particularly Peruvian conditions that turned ancestors into such statistically significant and “collectible” sets. Given those conditions, and outside interest, Peruvian scholars reframed their own anthropological and scientific trajectories in ways that ask us, today, to think through the multiple temporalities of science, museum-building, Indigeneity, and the collection and repatriation of human remains in the Americas.


Christopher Heaney earned his PhD from the UT History Department in 2016 and is now an Assistant Professor of History at Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of Cradle of Gold: The Story of Hiram Bingham, a Real-Life Indiana Jones and the Search for Machu Picchu (2010), published in Peru as Las Tumbas de Machu Picchu: La historia de Hiram Bingham y la Busqueda de las últimas ciudades de los Incas (2012), and is currently at work on two monographs, both informed by research in museums and archives in Peru, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Spain: a cultural and material history of the collection, circulation, study, and display of Inca mummies and ancient Peruvian skulls in the Americas; and an intellectual history of the legalization of grave-robbing in Peru and the Anglo-Iberian Atlantic World.

View his website at: http://www.christopherheaney.net.


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5 November 2021 — 12:00 noon — online

Gregory T. Cushman (University of Kansas/University of Arizona)

“Alex in Wonderland: Humboldt’s Male Companions and the Queer Science of Liberation”

Historians’ continued avoidance of Alexander von Humboldt’s sexuality is one of the most troubling features of “Humboldtism”: the nearly systematic elision of Humboldt’s social relations and intellectual influences from his biography and the history of science. Did Humboldt’s sexuality influence his intellectual networks and the ways in which he perceived the world? What role did the quest for liberation play in Humboldt’s motivations for travel and the ways in which he and his companions narrated these experiences? Are there queer dimensions to Humboldtian science? This presentation will explore empirical evidence and theoretical perspectives that can be used to answer these questions. They might also teach us something fundamental about the historical circumstances in which same-sex relationships began to become aspects of conscious, modern sexual identities.


Gregory T. Cushman earned his PhD from the UT History Department in 2003. He is currently as Associate Professor of International Environmental History at the University of Kansas; in fall 2022 he will be moving to the History Department at the University of Arizona. His first book, Guano and the
Opening of the Pacific World: A Global Ecological History
(Cambridge University Press, 2013), won four international awards, including the inaugural Jerry Bentley Prize in World History from the American Historical Association. The Instituto de Estudios Peruanos recently published a revised and expanded translation. His current research has been supported by an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship.


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