We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Histories of Race and Racism

The Andes and Mesoamerica from Colonial Times to the Present

Laura Gotkowitz

Publication Year: 2011

Ninety percent of the indigenous population in the Americas lives in the Andean and Mesoamerican nations of Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, and Guatemala. Recently indigenous social movements in these countries have intensified debate about racism and drawn attention to the connections between present-day discrimination and centuries of colonialism and violence. In Histories of Race and Racism, anthropologists, historians, and sociologists consider the experiences and representations of Andean and Mesoamerican indigenous peoples from the early colonial era to the present. Many of the essays focus on Bolivia, where the election of the country’s first indigenous president, Evo Morales, sparked fierce disputes over political power, ethnic rights, and visions of the nation. The contributors compare the interplay of race and racism with class, gender, nationality, and regionalism in Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Peru. In the process, they engage issues including labor, education, census taking, cultural appropriation and performance, mestizaje, social mobilization, and antiracist legislation. Their essays shed new light on the present by describing how race and racism have mattered in particular Andean and Mesoamerican societies at specific moments in time.

Published by: Duke University Press

Title Page, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF (32.7 KB)


pdf iconDownload PDF (35.8 KB)
pp. v-vii

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (22.1 KB)
pp. ix-x

This book first began to take shape at a conference convened at the University of Iowa in October 2002, where historians and anthropologists working in the United States and Latin America presented papers on racial meanings, mestizaje, indigenous social movements...

read more

Introduction: Racisms of the Present and the Past in Latin America

pdf iconDownload PDF (385.1 KB)
pp. 1-53

‘‘The wounds are open . . . and it will be a long time before they heal.’’1 This somber phrase sums up widespread sentiment about the violence that broke out in Cochabamba, Bolivia, on January 11, 2007. On that day, hundreds of men and women assaulted...

Part I: The Uses of "Race" in Colonial Latin America

pdf iconDownload PDF (21.2 KB)
pp. 55-91

read more

Unfixing Race

pdf iconDownload PDF (75.4 KB)
pp. 57-71

The word ‘‘race’’ has never been stable. Old dictionaries make this clear, while pointing up the persistent racism that avails itself of categories even as they change.1 Covarrubias, for example, begins his definition of raza with ‘‘the caste of purebred...

read more

Was There Race in Colonial Latin America? : Identifying Selves and Others in the Insurgent Andes

pdf iconDownload PDF (88.0 KB)
pp. 72-91

If the enormous, charged literature concerning ‘‘race’’ in twentieth-century social science has shown anything, it is that the category itself is extremely slippery, resisting even the most strenuous efforts to contain its semantic potency. It has proven easier to take...

Part II: Racialization and the State in the Long Nineteenth Century

pdf iconDownload PDF (21.2 KB)
pp. 93-156

read more

From Assimilation to Segregation: Guatemala, 1800–1944

pdf iconDownload PDF (80.7 KB)
pp. 95-112

After independence in 1821, ideas and practices of assimilation and segregation shaped the formation of a Guatemalan nation. As a national project began to be constructed over the course of the nineteenth century, Indians were subjected to institutionalized relations...

read more

The Census and the Making of a Social "Order" in Nineteenth-Century Bolivia

pdf iconDownload PDF (93.8 KB)
pp. 113-133

Indio, indígena, mestizo, and blanco are terms that seem to transcend both history and community in the Andean region. But what do they refer to in specific historical contexts, and how have their meanings changed over time?∞ One much-discussed change...

read more

Forging the Unlettered Indian: The Pedagogy of Race in the Bolivian Andes

pdf iconDownload PDF (94.3 KB)
pp. 134-156

Ever since Angel Rama first bundled writing, imperial power, and urbanism into the powerful metaphor of ‘‘the lettered city,’’ scholars have been fascinated by the role that alphabetic literacy played in the cultural and spatial colonization of the...

Part III: Racialization and Nationalist Mythologies in the Twentieth Century

pdf iconDownload PDF (21.2 KB)
pp. 157-217

read more

Indian Ruins, National Origins: Tiwanaku and Indigenismo in La Paz, 1897–1933

pdf iconDownload PDF (102.5 KB)
pp. 159-178

The storied archaeological site at Tiwanaku became the source of local, regional, and national appropriations and dissensions in early twentieth-century Bolivia. A landscape of abandoned ruins was intellectually reconstructed into a political monument that stood...

read more

Mestizaje, Distinction, and Cultural Presence: The View from Oaxaca

pdf iconDownload PDF (179.4 KB)
pp. 179-203

On July 20, 2002, some 3,000 protestors headed by the Coordinadora Oaxaqueña Magonista Popular Antineoliberal (COMPA) marched through the tourist-filled streets of Oaxaca’s historic center. COMPA’s official list of demands covered an impressive range...

read more

On the Origin of the ‘‘Mexican Race’’

pdf iconDownload PDF (69.8 KB)
pp. 204-217

A few years ago I became interested in the following questions: How is national unity forged? What role does racialization—that is, naturalizing social differences—play in forming the national subject? What is the relationship between...

Part IV: Antiracist Movements and Racism Today

pdf iconDownload PDF (21.2 KB)
pp. 219-317

read more

Politics of Place and Urban Indígenas in Ecuador’s Indigenous Movement

pdf iconDownload PDF (105.5 KB)
pp. 221-239

The 2002 restoration of the Bennett Stela, ‘‘a massive symbol of the Aymara past,’’ from a traffic roundabout in La Paz to the ruins of Tiwanaku near Lake Titicaca captures in a single event many currents of contemporary Andean native politics. The repatriation...

read more

Education and Decolonization in the Work of the Aymara Activist Eduardo Leandro Nina Qhispi

pdf iconDownload PDF (70.8 KB)
pp. 240-253

Through his work in education in the late 1920s, the Aymara intellectual Eduardo Leandro Nina Qhispi developed a remarkable proposal for an intercultural and decolonized Bolivian nation. Although Nina Qhispi did not use the word...

read more

Mistados, Cholos, and the Negation of Identity in the Guatemalan Highlands

pdf iconDownload PDF (94.6 KB)
pp. 254-277

The mistado are an intermediate social group in the Guatemalan highlands, a group increasing in size, and whose members refuse both of the region’s major identity categories, ‘‘indigenous’’ and ‘‘ladino.’’ Guatemala’s ‘‘ethnic ideology’’ has transformed, especially...

read more

Authenticating Indians and Movements: Interrogating Indigenous Authenticity, Social Movements, and Fieldwork in Contemporary Peru

pdf iconDownload PDF (90.6 KB)
pp. 278-298

In May 2003, we traveled to Cochabamba, Bolivia, to present a cowritten paper at a conference on Indigenous movements and the state in Latin America. Our paper examined recent Indigenous mobilization in Peru and responded critically to assertions...

read more

Transgressions and Racism: The Struggle over a New Constitution in Bolivia

pdf iconDownload PDF (64.9 KB)
pp. 299-310

Bolivia’s Constituent Assembly was inaugurated on August 6, 2006, following a protracted process of social mobilization and the election of Evo Morales, the nation’s first indigenous president.1 In the city of Sucre, 255 delegates came together to draft...

read more

Epilogue to ‘‘Transgressions and Racism’’: Making Sense of May 24th in Sucre: Toward an Antiracist Legislative Agenda

pdf iconDownload PDF (54.3 KB)
pp. 311-317

Every 25th of May, Bolivia marks the anniversary of one of the first revolts in the long process that culminated in independence in 1825, the revolt that took place in Sucre in May 1809. Almost like a paradox of history, one year before the bicentennial of the uprising...

Part V: Concluding Comments

read more

A Postcolonial Palimpsest: The Work Race Does in Latin America

pdf iconDownload PDF (73.8 KB)
pp. 321-336

In the past generation, the linguistic turn’s emphasis on the constructed nature of all categories and forms of explanation has grown to dominate much intellectual discourse. Those of us still committed to politically relevant analysis have repeatedly faced...


pdf iconDownload PDF (147.1 KB)
pp. 337-376


pdf iconDownload PDF (37.2 KB)
pp. 377-379


pdf iconDownload PDF (290.8 KB)
pp. 381-400

E-ISBN-13: 9780822394334
Print-ISBN-13: 9780822350439

Page Count: 416
Illustrations: 13 illustrations
Publication Year: 2011