The Moon to Light the Night: Gender as Ideology and Lived Experience on the North Coast of Peru



Sargent, Katherine

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This thesis explores gender ideology, identity, and roles on the north coast of Peru. Utilizing a large dataset consisting of over one thousand individuals, statistical analysis was conducted to compare the prevalence of pathological conditions between the pre-Hispanic and postcontact periods, as well as between males and females in these periods. The results of this analysis support ideas regarding the complementarity of genders in the pre-Hispanic period, as well as changing gender ideology with the arrival of the Spanish. Case studies are provided in an attempt to “fill in the gaps” of the broad trends indicated by the statistical analysis. This thesis concludes by arguing for the existence of a gender system of nesting mirrored and inverted complements which was internalized in the form of relatively fluid gender identities which could shift over the life-course.



Gender, Peru, Andean ideology, Bioarchaeology, Andean cosmology, North Coast of Peru