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Indianizing Film

Decolonization, the Andes, and the Question of Technology

Freya Schiwy

Publication Year: 2009

Focusing on films from Bolivia, Ecuador and Columbia, Indianizing Film encourages readers to consider how indigenous media contributes to a wider understanding of decolonization and anticolonial study against the universal backdrop of the twenty-first century. Through questions of gender, power, and representation Schiwy argues that, instead of solely creating entertainment, through their work indigenous media activists are building communication networks that encourage interaction between diverse cultures. As a result, mainstream images are retooled, permitting communities to strengthen their cultures and express their own visions of development and modernization.

Published by: Rutgers University Press

Series: New Directions in International Studies


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pp. v


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pp. vii-ix

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Introduction: The Question of Technology

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pp. 1-32

The film and video training center CEFREC (Centro de Formación y Realización Cinematográfica) in Bolivia recently published on its homepage an image of the Quechua media activist Marcelina Cárdenas in traditional festive attire pointing a camcorder at the viewer (fig. 1).1 CEFREC’s homepage brings together...

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1: Indigenous Media and the Politics of Knowledge

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pp. 33-62

Indigenous media centers have emerged in multiple settings throughout Latin America. Although indigenous peoples in Brazil number less than 1 percent, the Brazilian nongovernmental organization Video in the Villages (Video Nas Aldeias) and the Kayapo’s use of video are perhaps most familiar to readers elsewhere...

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2: Casting New Protagonists

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pp. 63-84

The question “Who is actually making these films?” comes up frequently when indigenous media are screened outside the communities and the indigenous film festival circuits. The question points to a doubt generated in part by the apparent temporal clash between indigenous bodies and digital video technology that the images...

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3: Cinematic Time and Visual Economy

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pp. 85-108

Does the proliferation of audiovisual media among indigenous communities respond to a change in the way literacy, literary representation, and power have congealed in Latin America? Urban elites in Latin America have enacted power relations by constructing an opposition between the realm of literacy and civilization..

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4: Gender, Complementarity, and the Anticolonial Gaze

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pp. 109-138

When viewing indigenous fiction and documentary films, it is striking how often they frame women as cultural guardians and men as the victims of the self-denigrating effects of colonial discourse. Documentaries and fiction shorts highlight the way cultural practices, religious beliefs, and knowledge...

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5: Nature, Indians, and Epistemic Privilege

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pp. 139-162

As a film form, documentary is closely linked to the lettered city’s production of knowledge. It can provide information about the sociohistorical world or become part of scientific research that is made public and directed at an audience of nonexperts. Ethnographic documentaries derive their power to define what is in front of the lens from this contextual inscription...

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6: Specters and Braided Stories

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pp. 163-184

When Stanley Aronowitz spoke of cinema being the paradigmatic art form of late capitalism in the 1970s, he implied that the very technology itself, the succession of images in time, replicated and helped to constitute the rhythm of capitalist production. The moving image masked its production; it produced the memory of historical events...

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7: Indigenous Media and the Market

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pp. 185-211

As if visualizing the Quechua/Aymara moral imperative—ama sua, ama lulla, ama kella (do not steal, do not lie, do not be lazy)—labor is an overwhelming presence in CEFREC-CAIB’s videos.1 Sowing, harvesting, herding, spinning, weaving, cooking, and childcare are regular chores. They form the backdrop to the narrative plots...

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pp. 212-222

With Ecuador’s indigenous organizations deposing two presidents in the last decade, and with Aymara Indian Evo Morales’s election to the Bolivian presidency in 2006, much scholarly discussion has centered on the relation between indigenous movements and the state. The state and the Colombian constitution of 1991...


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pp. 223-248


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pp. 249-266


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pp. 267-272


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pp. 273-282

About the Author

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pp. 283

E-ISBN-13: 9780813547138
E-ISBN-10: 081354713X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813545394
Print-ISBN-10: 0813545390

Page Count: 296
Illustrations: 12 photographs
Publication Year: 2009

Series Title: New Directions in International Studies