Dr Isabel Yaya

Contact details

Dr Isabel Yaya
PhD, History, University of New South Wales (Sydney); D.E.A., Social Sciences of Religions, E.P.H.E (Paris); Maîtrise, Archaeology, Université Paris IV-Sorbonne (Paris)
Position/Fellowship type:
Leverhulme Trust-funded Visiting Fellow
Fellowship term:
01-Sep-2012 to 31-Aug-2013
Central Services of the School
Related institutes:
Institute of English Studies
Institute of Latin American Studies
Warburg Institute
Email address:

Research Summary and Profile

Research interests:
English Literature
Summary of research interests and expertise:

- Transmission and stabilisation of historical narratives in the Andes under Incan and Spanish rule.
- Early Modern constructions of ancient Peru in European fiction and artefact collections.

My research project at the SAS proposes a comparative analysis of late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century English and French fiction on the Inca Empire. Throughout this period, which coincided with the decline of Spanish hegemony in the Americas and with England’s and France’s imperial impulses, ancient Peru became a remarkably popular theme in a variety of novels, plays, operas, poems and periodical essays. My project investigates the relationship between this literature and the mercantile aspirations, scientific endeavours and imperialist designs of two countries far removed from actual dominion over Peru. It explores de facto intellectual exchanges between France and England in order to establish a clearer understanding of the mobility and endurance of the Noble Inca figure, and to shed a better light on the interactions between academic and public cultures.

In parallel, I coordinate a research group with Pierre Déléage (Laboratoire d’Anthropologie Sociale) and Bérénice Gaillemin (Laboratoire d’Ethnologie et Sociologie Comparative) on Amerindian pictographic catechisms, for which we received funding from the Institut des Sciences Sociales et Humaines (PE/PS) and the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (LabEx TransferS).

Project summary relevant to Fellowship:

Dr Yaya's fellowship report

Publication Details

Related publications/articles:

Date Details
01-Jan-2012 The Two Faces of Inca History: Dualism in the Narratives and Cosmology of Ancient Cuzco. The Early Americas History and Cultures Series, Leiden: E.J. Brill

01-Jan-2011 “Napoleon as lawgiver: The renewal of an enlightened political motif for the iconographic program of the Louvre’s Cour Carrée” French History, 25(3)


01-Jan-2010 “The poetics and dynamics of cultural encounter: recent perspectives on Peru’s pre-Hispanic and early colonial order” Journal of Iberian and Latin American Research 16(1)


01-Jan-2008 Guaman Poma de Ayala, “The First New Chronicle and Good Government”, 2006 (selected, annoted, and abridged by David Frye), Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing. Bulletin of Latin American Research 27(2)


01-Jan-2008 “Wonders of America: the curiosity cabinet as a site of representation and knowledge” Journal of the History of Collections 20(2), 2008: 173-188


01-Jan-2008 “The Importance of Initiatory Ordeals: Kinship and Politics in an Inca Narrative” Ethnohistory 55(1)


01-Jan-2007 Sabine Hyland, “The Jesuit and the Incas: the extraordinary life of Padre Blas Valera”, 2003. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Ethnohistory 54(1)


“Hanan y Hurin: historia de un sistema estructural” Bulletin de l’Institut Français d’Etudes Andines, forthcoming.


Consultancy reports:

Date Details
2012 with Bérénice Gaillemin, Catéchismes pictographiques: comparaison Mexique/Andes. Final report of the PE/PS project to the Institut des Sciences Humaines et Sociales (C.N.R.S.). 25 pages.

Relevant Events

Related events:

Date Details
15-May-2013 “Enlightening the Khipu: Views on the Incas’ Writing System in Eighteenth-Century Learned Circles”, Dean's Seminar, University of London

19-Apr-2013 “I rise, and it is not for myself”: Visions of the Inca Empire in the English and French Press of the Eighteenth-Century”, Latin American Utopian Visions: A Critical Look for the 21st Century, CRASSH, University of Cambridge

17-Apr-2013 “The Ideal Empire: French and English constructions of the Incas in Eighteenth-Century Theatre”. The Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies Research Seminar, Room 246, Senate House

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