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The Andes Imagined

Indigenismo, Society, and Modernity

Jorge Coronado

Publication Year: 2009

Jorge Coronado not only examines but also recasts the indigenismo movement of the early 1900s. He departs from the common critical conception of ndigenismo as rooted in novels and short stories, and instead analyzes an expansive range of work in poetry, essays, letters, newspaper writing, and photography. He uses this evidence to show how the movement's artists and intellectuals mobilize the figure of the Indian to address larger questions about becoming modern, and he focuses on the contradictions at the heart of indigenismo as a cultural, social, and political movement. By breaking down these different perspectives, Coronado reveals an underlying current in which intellectuals and artists frequently deployed their indigenous subject in order to imagine new forms of political inclusion. He suggests that these deployments rendered particular variants of modernity and make indigenismo's representational practices a privileged site for the examination of the region's cultural negotiation of modernization. His analysis reveals a paradox whereby the un-modern indio becomes the symbol for the modern itself. The Andes Imagined offers an original and broadly based engagement with indigenismo and its intellectual contributions, both in relation to early twentieth-century Andean thought and to larger questions of theorizing modernity.

Published by: University of Pittsburgh Press

Series: Illuminations: Cultural Formations of the Americas


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TOC, Illustrations and Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-xiii

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Introduction: Indigenismo, Modernity, Indigenismos, Modernities

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pp. 1-24

This book explores the contradictions that lie at the center of indigenismo, the cultural, social, and political movement that grew to prominence in the early twentieth century in Latin America. As a constellation of extremely varied practices, including painting, photography, literature, and literary and cultural criticism, as well as diverse...

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Chapter One: The Revolutionary Indio: Jos

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pp. 25-51

In a brief essay on José Carlos Mariátegui, the well-known Peruvian critic Aníbal Quijano characterizes Mariátegui's work from the 1920s as expressing an “intersubjective universe that is constituted by the proess of Latin American culture of that period, as an alternative to the one imposed by the Creole oligarchy. ...

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Chapter Two: A Modern Andean Culture? Jos

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pp. 52-74

On February 3, 1927, the cusqueño politician and journalist José Ángel Escalante (1883–1965) published an article that precipitated a series of heated exchanges among Peru’s intellectuals. The public discussion that would come to be known as the polémica del indigenismo, an overlooked but highly significant chapter...

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Chapter Three: (Un)Happy Endings: Film, Modernity, and Tradition in Carlos Oquendo de Amat

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pp. 75-101

There is one particular trait of the lettered vanguard that appears to be quite the opposite of the indigenista project, if not its annulment: the cult of technology. The poetry of the historical vanguard, especially those texts produced early in the century, is rife with signifiers that invoke both the idea of technological modernization and its materials...

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Chapter Four: An Assembly of Voices: Labor and the Publics of Print

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pp. 102-133

In the flurry of critical and narratival works that the indigenistas are best known for, such as Mariátegui’s Siete ensayos de interpretación de la realidad peruana, Valcárcel’s Tempestad en los Andes, and Enrique López Albújar’s Cuentos andinos (1920), the conception of a modern Andean region relies on a highly idealized version of the indio. ...

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Chapter Five: Photographs at the Edge: Mart

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pp. 134-162

This book has turned on the conceit that representations of the indigenous in lettered culture in the early twentieth-century Andes articulated possible local modernities while presuming to portray indios and their culture. The sound and fury of historical indigenismo—to be distinguished from later manifestations, such as the so-called...

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Conclusion: Reading Indigenismo, Writing the Indio

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pp. 163-168

A recent article on the current dynamics of indigenous political representation in Ecuador and Bolivia resonates deeply, in my view, with the circumstances I have commented on in this book. In the text in question, the political scientist José Antonio Lucero recounts how two indigenous organizations, the FEINE (Ecuadorian Evangelical...


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pp. 169-183

Works Cited

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pp. 185-194


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pp. 195-208


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Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780822973560
E-ISBN-10: 0822973561
Print-ISBN-13: 9780822960249
Print-ISBN-10: 0822960249

Page Count: 224
Illustrations: 7 b&w Illustrations
Publication Year: 2009

Series Title: Illuminations: Cultural Formations of the Americas
Series Editor Byline: John Beverley and Sarah Castro-Klaren, Editors See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 794927930
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Andes Imagined

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Peru -- History -- 1919-1968.
  • Peru -- Civilization -- 20th century.
  • Indians in literature.
  • Peru -- Intellectual life -- 20th century
  • Peruvian literature -- 20th century -- History and criticism.
  • National characteristics, Peruvian.
  • Ethnicity -- Peru -- History -- 20th century.
  • Identity (Psychology) -- Peru.
  • Peru -- Civilization -- Indian influences.
  • Indians of South America -- Peru -- Ethnic identity.
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