LIBRARY: Christopher Heaney at the Hudson Library [4/2]

Join the Hudson Library & Historical Society on Tuesday, April 2 at 6:30 p.m. for an in-person author event with historian and professor Christopher Heaney, who will discuss his new book Empires of the Dead

*Please note, this event is in person and registration is required to attend. To register, click here.

Empires of the Dead explains how "ancient Peruvians" became the single largest population in the Smithsonian and many other museums in Peru, the Americas, and beyond. This event is part of the library‚Äôs Peru travel month programming series throughout the month of April. 

In 1532, when Spain invaded the Inca empire, Europeans learned that the Inca and Andean peoples made their ancestors sacred by preserving them with the world's oldest practices of artificial mummification. To extinguish their power, the Spaniards collected these ancestors as specimens of conquest, science, nature, and race. Yet colonial Andean communities also found ways to keep the dead alive, making "Inca mummies" a symbol of resistance that Spanish American patriots used to introduce Peruvian Independence and science to the world. Bringing together the history of science, race, and museums' possession of Indigenous remains, from the sixteenth century to the twentieth, Empires of the Dead illuminates how South American ancestors became coveted mummies, skulls, and specimens of knowledge and nationhood. In doing so it reveals how Peruvian and Andean peoples have learned from their dead, seeking the recovery of looted heritage in the centuries before North American museums began their own work of decolonization. 

Christopher Heaney is 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. He has written for the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the New York Times, and other publications, and was the co-founder of The Appendix, a journal of narrative and experimental history. 

Registration for this program is required. Copies of Empires of the Dead will be available for purchase and signing courtesy of the Learned Owl Book Shop. 

Event date: 
Tuesday, April 2, 2024 - 6:30pm
Event address: 
96 Library St.
Hudson, OH 44236
Empires of the Dead: Inca Mummies and the Peruvian Ancestors of American Anthropology By Christopher Heaney Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780197542552
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Click for Details
Published: Oxford University Press, USA - August 8th, 2023

When the Smithsonian's Hall of Physical Anthropology opened in 1965 it featured 160 Andean skulls affixed to a wall to visualize how the world's human population had exploded since the birth of Christ.


We recommend