Di Hu - Archaeology and Historical Anthropology of the Andes

I am a broadly trained anthropological archaeologist whose research explores the intersection of landscape and political ecology. I am currently an assistant professor of Anthropology at James Madison University. Using a combination of environmental archaeology methods such as geospatial analysis, geochemical analysis, starch grain analysis, and archival research, I investigate how landscape constrains and provides opportunities for collective action, such as the rise of states, coordinated rebellions, and the emergence of new group identities in South America. My research highlights the key role that social landscapes—the organization of social relations over the landscape—play in facilitating collective struggles to control one’s own labor, ritual landscape, and ecological resources.

I investigated the long-term social conditions that enabled the conjuncture of local armed revolts and regional-scale rebellions in the late Spanish colonial period in Peru through a combination of archaeological and historical lines of evidence. I argued that despite the Spanish government’s emphasis on divide-and-control, workers of diverse backgrounds actively resisted proscriptions against inter-caste mixing. The workers did so through strategic migration and kinship ties over the regional landscape as well as by creating cosmopolitan moral economies inside labor institutions such as textile workshops. The changes that the workers effected on the social landscape underpinned the coordinated nature of late colonial rebellions. This project received UC Berkeley’s nomination for the 2018 CGS/Proquest Distinguished Dissertation Award in the social sciences. Supported by a Wenner-Gren Foundation Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship, I completed a book manuscript entitled The Fabric of Resistance: Textile Workshops and the Rise of Rebellious Landscapes in Colonial Peru, which was largely based on this project.

My current research, a long-term, five-year community-based archaeology project, seeks to understand how the Inka conquest of Vilcashuamán province changed the landscape of its inhabitants and how the inhabitants may have recreated their landscapes in ways that undermined or bolstered Inka rule. This project compares the pre-Inka hilltop fortress community of Pillucho to the community of coerced transplanted laborers at Yanawilka and investigates the changes in local flora (through environmental reconstruction via coring of sediments from Lake Pomacocha), ritual landscapes, food landscapes, and economic exchange of goods such as obsidian.

In my spare time, I enjoy making art, flint knapping, and film photography.