Paul Rellstab


paulrell@buffalo.edu  l CV

Fields: Colonial Latin America

Advisor: Hal Langfur
Bio: My dissertation project examines the spiritual and medical interactions between native Andeans and Spanish missionaries in sixteenth and seventeenth-century Peru. Since Andean conceptions of illness and healing intertwined the spiritual and material, and human and non-human, I argue that Andean worldviews influenced Spanish beliefs on the interrelation between science/healing and religion. I highlight the Taki Onkoy, a millenarian movement in the 1560s, as turning point in Andean-Spanish relations. Followers of the Taki Onkoy claimed that the Spanish had made them sick, and in order to restore balance, wak’as–powerful spirits located in mountains, rivers, and objects–had possessed native bodies. In the following decades, missionaries instructed Andean healers to refrain from using spiritual remedies and thus focus on botanical remedies. Consequently, I contend that missionaries were unintended actors in the idea that science and religion should be separated.

Also, I still have a wife and a stuffed dog. They are both still pretty cool.