There are a few topics that we address in my course on Hispanic Civilization that I use to measure if a student is completely hopeless or not. Quipus are one such topic.
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. If there is a student who still doesn’t wake up even for something as stunning as this, I know that s/he is a lost cause intellectually.
I very rarely encounter such indifferent students, though. Usually, 20 minutes into my lecture on the indigenous civilizations of the Americas, everybody is awake and listening breathlessly.
“Ah, you just wait a little,” I always think. “Next week when we will talk about the European conquest of the Americas I will have you all sobbing.”