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Steve Wernke

Associate Professor

Director of Undergraduate Studies

Director, Spatial Analysis Research Lab

Department of Anthropology, Vanderbilt University

As a historical anthropologist of the Andean region of South America, my research takes place at the intersections of several disciplines: archaeology and history, prehispanic and colonial studies, anthropology and cultural geography. My research centers on the lived, local experiences of imperialism and colonialism on both sides of the Spanish invasion of the Andes.  It explores several dimensions of those experiences–especially the negotiation of new forms and practices of community, religion, and land use. Methodologically, much of my work synthesizes archaeological and documentary data sets in a common, GIS-based spatial framework.  My current archaeological research investigates the shift from Inka to Spanish colonial rule and the earliest phase of Catholic evangelization in the Andes through archaeological research at an Inka imperial outpost that became an early Franciscan doctrinal settlement. Most of my studies have been based in the Colca Valley, a major highland valley of the south central Andean highlands.