The story is told of some European scholar who was asked what he thought of American civilization.
“I think it would be a good idea,” he is said to have replied.
But here is a story which shows how it can backfire. It is the story of an encounter of Europeans with American civilization.
Hat-tip to fellow-blogger Clarissa, who teaches literature at a university somewhere in America. In the course of her lectures on Hispanic civilization she introduces her students to the object on the right.
This legacy of the quechua people is one of the fascinating things I discuss in my series of lectures on Hispanic Civilization. I usually ask the students to guess what these are. They start offering suggestions, and the excitement in the classroom grows.
When I finally reveal that this is the quechua equivalent of a book, the students all gasp in amazement.
Her blog post provoked a few comments and questions about how one “reads” quipus. It seems that no one really knows. “When the conquistadors arrived, they thought this was just garbage and simply burned most of quipus.”
I think Hispanic civilization would be a good idea too.