Cathy Lynne Costin

Cathy Costin
Department Chair/Liberal Studies Gateway Course Coordinator
(818) 677-3331
Office location:
Sierra Hall, Room 232



  • Ph.D. Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles, 1986
  • UCLA Alumni Association Distinguished Scholar, 1985
  • M.A.  Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles, 1980
  • B.A.  Honors in Anthropology (Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa) University of California, Los Angeles, 1978

Courses Taught

  • 153: Temples, Tombs, and Treasures??? An Introduction to Archaeology
  • 308: Women, Sex Roles, and Culture
  • 352: Peoples of South America
  • 429: Archaeology of South America
  • 460: Archaeological Study of Women in the Ancient World
  • 462: Anthropology of the Arts
  • 490C: Seminar: Craft Production
  • 490C: Seminar: Food, Culture and Society
  • 601: Graduate Seminar in Anthropological Theory

Selected Publications and Presentations

2011 Textiles and Chimu Identity Under Inka Hegemony on the North Coast of Peru. In Textile Economies: Power and Value from the Local to the Transnational, edited by W. Little and T. McAnany, pp. 101-124. AltaMira Press, Lanham, MD.

2011 Hybrid Objects, Hybrid Social Identities: Style and Social Structure in the Late Horizon Andes. In Identity Crisis: Archaeology and Problems of Social Identity, edited by Lindsay Amundsen-Meyer, Nicole Engel, and Sean Pickering, pp 211-225. University of Calgary, Alberta.

2007    Thinking About Production:  Phenomenological Classification and Lexical Semantics.  In Rethinking Craft Specialization in Complex Societies:  Archaeological Analyses of the Social Meaning of Production, edited by Z. Hruby and R. Flad.  Archaeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association 15, pp 143-162.

2005    The Study of Craft Production.  In  Handbook of Methods in Archaeology, edited by H. Maschner, pp 1032-1105.  AltaMira Press. 

2004    Craft Economies of Prehispanic Andean States.  In Archaeological Perspectives on Political Economies, edited by Gary M. Feinman, Linda M. Nicholas, and James M Skibo.  Foundations of Archaeology Inquiry Series.  University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.  Release announced January 2004.

2002    Status Distinction and Legitimation of Power as Reflected in Changing Patterns of Consumption in Late Prehispanic Peru.  In Bronze Age Economics:  the First Political Economies, edited by T. Earle.  Rowland and Littlefield.  Reprinted from American Antiquity 54(4):691-714.

2002    Cloth Production and Gender Relations in the Inka Empire.  In Archaeology:  Original Readings in Method and Practice, edited by P. Peregrine, C. Ember, and M. Ember, pp.261-279.  Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.

2001    Production and Exchange of Ceramics. In Empire and Domestic Economy by T. D'Altroy, C. Hastorf and Associates, pp. 203-242.  Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.  New York. 

2001    Craft Production Systems.  In Archaeology at the Millennium: A Sourcebook, edited by G. Feinman and T. Price, pp. 273-327.  Kluwar Academic/Plenum Press, New York.

2000    The Use of Ethnoarchaeology for the Archaeological Study of Ceramic Production.  In Ceramic Ethnoarchaeology (Theme Issue),  Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, edited by B. Bowser, 7(4):377-403

1999    Formal and Technological Variability and the Social Relations of Production:  Crisoles from San Jose de Moro, Peru.  In Material Meanings:  Critical Approaches to Interpreting Material Culture, edited by Elizabeth S. Chilton, pp.85-110.  Foundation of Archaeological Inquiry.  University of Utah Press.

1998    Concepts of Property and Access to Non-agricultural Resources in the Inka Empire.  In Property in the Economy, edited by B. Hunt and A. Gilman, pp. 119-138.  Monographs in Economic Anthropology No. 14.  University Press of America.  Lanham, MD.

1998    Housewives, Chosen Women, and Skilled Men:  Cloth Production and Social Identity in the Late Prehispanic Andes.  In Craft and Social Identity, edited by C. Costin and R. Wright.  Archaeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association Number 8.  Washington D.C.

1998    Introduction.  In Craft and Social Identity, edited by C. Costin and R. Wright.  Archaeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association, Number 8.  Washington D.C.

1996    Exploring the Relationship among Craft Production, Gender, and Complex Societies: Methodological and Theoretical Issues of Gender Attribution.  In Gender and Archaeology, edited by R. Wright, pp. 111-142.  University of Pennsylvania Press.

1996    Craft Production and Mobilization Strategies in the Inka Empire.  In Craft Specialization and Social Evolution:  In Memory of V. Gordon Childe, edited by B. Wailes, pp. 211-228.  University of Pennsylvania Museum Publications.

1993    Textiles, Women, and Political Economy in the Late Prehispanic Andes. Research in Economic Anthropology 14:3-28. 

1991    Specialization:  Issues in Defining, Documenting, and Explaining the Organization of Production.  In Archaeological Method and Theory, Volume 3, ed. by M. Schiffer, pp.1-56.  University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

Research and Interests

5 keywords that describe your topical areas of specialization: Craft production; political economy and social inequality; gender; divisions of labor; social identity

Geographic areas of specialization: Andean South America

Current Projects:
• Working from the premise that clothing signaled identity in the ancient Andean region, this research traces similarity and change in tunic design and structure on the Peruvian North Coast, using extant textiles and depictions of individuals wearing clothing from the Early Intermediate (Moche) period through the Late Intermediate (Sican and Chimu) periods to establish the depth of how indigenous identity was expressed in material culture. I will then consider how the organization of textile production was manipulated to create and control social identity. Finally, I am exploring how the conquering Inka expropriated and manipulated the production process for both cloth and pottery to foster new forms of social and political relations on the North Coast.

• I am investigating the effort required to produce maize beer (chicha) and cloth in the prehistoric Andes to evaluate the effects of Inka tribute demands for maize and cloth on local, conquered populations.

• I am comparing and contrasting Inka imperial strategies in the highlands (using my older data from the Wanka of the Yanamarca Valley) with their strategies on the coast (using recent investigations of the Chimu of the North Coast).

Personal Bio Statement

I have a longstanding interest in the organization of production, the gendered division of labor, and political economy. Most of my work has focused on ceramic and textile production in the late pre-Columbian Andes, investigating how local economies were reorganized when polities were absorbed into the Inka empire, and the social and political implications of that reorganization. More recently, I have used this interest to investigate issues of imperial statecraft and non-western “colonialism,” looking specifically at the impact of conquest on local populations in terms of task allocation, work effort, the creation and control of social identity, and gender relations. In this research, I compare and contrast the effects of the Inka conquest on a small-scale highland chiefdom (the Wanka) and on a coastal, state-level polity (the Chimu). I currently serve as General Series Editor for Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association.