The colonial town of Pelileo in Ecuador was home to San Ildefonso, one of the largest and longest-lasting textile mills of Quito—a region known for its textile production for export to Potosí. Interwoven is a microhistory that documents the way textile production affected indigenous lives, families, and ethnicity from the seventeenth to the eighteenth centuries—leaving marks in the way ethnic identities are defined today.

Anthropologist Rachel Corr reconstructs the multilayered processes and human encounters that transformed the indigenous coca fields into sugar and textile mills, increasingly populated by sheep. The textile mills were complex social structures that put indigenous laborers under the surveillance of Europeans, African slaves, and layers of indigenous mediators, administrators, and accountants. Interestingly, these accountants were quipocamas, or quipo masters, who kept colonial records using the Inka system of knotted cords. Corr’s close reading of judicial archives allows...

You do not currently have access to this content.