From 8 to 17 April 1969, the anthropologist John V. Murra delivered the Lewis Henry Morgan Lectures at the University of Rochester, four talks devoted to the distinctive cultural underpinnings of Andean civilization. Two of Murra’s students, Freda Yancy Wolf and Heather Lechtman, have now transcribed and edited the lectures, producing an accessible volume of interest to all Andeanists. As Lechtman’s introduction clearly demonstrates, the Morgan lectures summarize Murra’s foundational 1960s research, and they herald the new wave of Andean scholarship that he led during the 1970s and 1980s. These talks also reflect a significant anthropological moment, as Murra engaged with Morgan’s comparative evolutionism as a way to address contemporary ecological approaches to social evolution.

In his first lecture, “The Archipelago Model of Vertical Control in the Andes,” Murra introduced his audience to the ecological and cultural diversity of the Andean highlands,...

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