Peter Gose

Professor Emeritus

Degrees:PhD (London School of Economics)


Gose was raised in Vancouver and did his BA in Anthropology at the University of British Columbia (1979) then moved to the London School of Economics to do his MSc (1980) and PhD (1986) in Social Anthropology. He began his research career as an ethnographer of the Peruvian Andes, exploring how peasant mortuary and sacrificial rituals articulate relations of production, property and political power. In the late 1980s, he turned to historical research on ritual and political power under the Incas. Since 1993, he has done extensive archival research on Spanish colonialism in the Andes and its “extirpation of idolatry” campaigns, which resulted in a recent book on the inter-cultural politics of ancestor worship. Before coming to Carleton as Chair of Sociology and Anthropology, his previous appointments were at the University of Lethbridge (1987-1994) and the University of Regina (1994-2005).

Areas of Current Interest

With the help of an SSHRC Standard Research Grant (2009-2012), he is now investigating the peculiarities of “purity of blood” as an early modern Spanish racism, both in the Iberian peninsula and South America. This research addresses relations between racism, honour and nobility, racializing displacements of class and gender tensions, and the interaction between nationalism and colonialism in the historical development of this particular racism. He also maintains long-standing interests in hermeneutics, practice theory, and hegemony theory.

At Carleton, he has taught a fourth year undergraduate seminar in Varieties of Practice Theory (ANTH 4215) and graduate courses in Theory and Methods in Anthropology (ANTH 5402), Signs and Symbols (ANTH 5403), Research Design (ANTH 5812), and the Doctoral Seminar in Anthropology (ANTH 6000). Among his teaching interests are Colonialism and Post-Colonialism, Race, Ethnicity and Nationalism, the Anthropology of Ritual, Symbolic Anthropology, Social Organization, Economic Anthropology, Ethnographic Fieldwork, Andean Ethnography and Andean Ethnohistory.

The following are among his publications:


Invaders as Ancestors: On the Intercultural Making and Unmaking of Spanish Colonialism in the Andes. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 380 pp. 2008.

Deathly Waters and Hungry Mountains: Agrarian Ritual and Class Formation in an Andean Town. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 325 pp. 1994. [Spanish editions by Editorial Mama Huaco 2001 and Abya Yala 2004]

Articles and Book Chapters

“Converting the Ancestors: Indirect Rule, Settlement Consolidation, and the Struggle over Burial in Colonial Peru, 1532-1614,” pp. 140-174 in (eds.) K. Mills and A. Grafton Conversion: Old Worlds and New. Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2003.

“The State as a Chosen Woman: Brideservice and the Feeding of Tributaries in the Inka Empire.” American Anthropologist 102/1: 84-97, 2000.

“El estado incaico como una ‘mujer escogida’ (aqlla): Consumo, tributo en trabajo y la regulación del matrimonio en el incanato,” pp. 457-473 in (ed.) Denise Arnold Más allá del silencio: las fronteras del género en los andes. La Paz: CIASE/ILCA, 1997.

“The Past is a Lower Moiety: Diarchy, History, and Divine Kingship in the Inka Empire.” History and Anthropology 9/4: 383-414, 1996.

“Oracles, Mummies, and Political Representation in the Inka State.” Ethnohistory 43/1: 1-33, 1996.

“Les Momies, les Saints et les Politiques d’Inhumation au Perou, au XVIIe Siècle.” Recherches Amérindiennes au Québec 25/2: 35-51, 1995.

“Contra Pascual Haro: Un Proceso de Idolatrías, Cuzco 1697.” Ciencias Sociales 1/1: 203-18, 1995.

“Embodied Violence: Racial Identity and the Semiotics of Property in Huaquirca, Antabamba (Apurimac),” pp. 165-198 in (ed.) D. Poole Unruly Order: Violence, Power and Identity in the Southern High Provinces of Peru (19th to 20th Centuries). Boulder: Westview Press, 1994.

“Segmentary State Formation and the Ritual Control of Water under the Incas.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 35/3: 480-514, 1993.

“House Rethatching in an Andean Annual Cycle: Practice, Meaning and Contradiction.” American Ethnologist 18/1: 39-66, 1991.

“Labour and the Materiality of the Sign: Beyond Dualist Theories of Culture.” Dialectical Anthropology 13/2: 103-21, 1988.

“Sacrifice and the Commodity Form in the Andes.” Man 21/2: 296-310, 1986.