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Word Count: 1,123
In Arts of the Contact Zone Mary Louise Pratt introduces a term very unfamiliar to many people This term autoethnography means the way in which subordinate peoples present themselves in ways that their dominants have represented them Therefore autoethnography is not self-representation but a collaboration of mixed ideas and values form both the dominant and subordinate cultures They are meant to address the speakers own community as well as the conquerors Pratt provides many examples of autoethnography throughout her piece including two texts by Guaman Poma and her son Manuel Although very different in setting ideas and time periods they accomplish the difficult goal of cross-cultural communicationGuaman Poma an Andean who claimed noble Inca descent wrote a twelve hundred page long letter in 1613 to King Philip III of Spain This manuscript was particularly unique because it was written in two languages Spanish and Quechua the native language of the Andeans Quechua was not thought of as a written language nor Andean culture as a literate culture 584 This letter proved the theory wrong Somehow Poma interacted with the Spanish in a contact zone which is a social space where cultures meet clash and grapple with each other 584 This communication forced him to learn the Spanish culture and use it to his advantage With his new found knowledge he presented to the world a piece of work that incorporated Andean customs and values with European manners and ideas exemplifying the idea of cross-cultural communication The only flaw in his piece was that it never reached its intended recipient and therefore did not get recognized until it was three hundred fifty years too latePoma combines his Andean knowledge with his Spanish knowledge He constructs his text by appropriating and adapting pieces of the representational repertoire of the invaders 589 At one point he makes the Spaniards seem foolish and greedy The Spanish brought nothing of value to
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