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History, Power, and Identity

Ethnogenesis in the Americas, 1492-1992

Jonathan D. Hill

Publication Year: 1996

For the past five centuries, indigenous and African American communities throughout the Americas have sought to maintain and recreate enduring identities under conditions of radical change and discontinuity. The essays in this groundbreaking volume document this cultural activity—this ethnogenesis—within and against the broader contexts of domination; the authors simultaneously encompass the entanglements of local communities in the webs of national and global power relations as well as people's unique abilities to gain control over their history and identity.

By defining ethnogenesis as the synthesis of people's cultural and political struggles, History, Power, and Identity breaks out of the implicit contrast between isolated local cultures and dynamic global history. From the northeastern plains of North America to Amazonia, colonial and independent states in the Americas interacted with vast multilingual and multicultural networks, resulting in the historical emergence of new ethnic identities and the disappearance of many earlier ones. The importance of African, indigenous American, and European religions, myths, and symbols, as historical cornerstones in the building of new ethnic identities, emerges as one of the central themes of this convincing collection.

Published by: University of Iowa Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. v-vi

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Introduction: Ethnogenesis in the Americas, 1492–1992

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pp. 1-19

Cultural anthropologists have generally used the term ethnogenesis to describe the historical emergence of a people who define themselves in relation to a sociocultural and linguistic heritage.1 In the following collection of essays, a number of cultural anthropologists are concerned to demonstrate that ethnogenesis can also serve as an analytical tool ...

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Ethnogenesis and Ethnocide in the European Occupation of Native Surinam, 1499–1681

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pp. 20-35

On the broad canvas of the native history of the Americas the Guianas region presents a number of social situations and cultural innovations that are relatively rare in other areas and often unfamiliar in the contemporary ethnography. Significant political contrasts between the trading-plantation settlements made by the Dutch, English, and French ...

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Remnants, Renegades, and Runaways: Seminole Ethnogenesis Reconsidered

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pp. 36-69

With the publication in 1971 of the seminal essay "Creek into Seminole," William Sturtevant introduced the concept of ethnogenesis into American anthropology generally. It therefore seems appropriate to reconsider the Seminole case a generation later in a volume dedicated to examining that process. ...

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Ethnogenesis in the South Plains: Jumano to Kiowa?

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pp. 70-89

It may be useful to think of ethnogenesis as a process which can be logically divided into three phases, not neatly sequential but in principle comparable to phases in life-cycle transitions: separation, a liminal period, and reintegration. For persons or groups who are to constitute a new ethnic entity, ...

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Changing Patterns of Ethnicity in the Northeastern Plains, 1780–1870

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pp. 90-118

Over twenty years ago, William Sturtevant introduced the idea of ethnogenesis to American anthropology in a pioneering study of the sociopolitical processes by which the Seminole became differentiated historically from the Creek (1971: 92). Although he defined ethnogenesis in this work simply as "the establishment of group distinctiveness," ...

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Ethnogenesis in the Guianas and Jamaica: Two Maroon Cases

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pp. 119-141

The term ethnogenesis, though it entered the English language only a few decades ago, has become well established in the social science lexicon. The growing currency of the term in anthropology reflects an increasing awareness of the fact that sociocultural systems and identities are rarely as static or as closed as was once thought. ...

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Ethnogenesis in the Northwest Amazon: An Emerging Regional Picture

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pp. 142-160

Prior to the 1980s, the ethnology of northwestern Amazonia focused almost entirely upon the eastern Tukanoan-speaking peoples of the Vaupes Basin in Colombia and Brazil. Several outstanding monographs and numerous shorter publications on eastern Tukanoan peoples provided in-depth perspectives ...

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Fighting in a Different Way: Indigenous Resistance through the Alleluia Religion of Guyana

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pp. 161-179

While I was studying the Akawaio language with the Charles family, whose compound forms one of the small, dispersed settlements along the Middle Mazaruni River, fairly frequently someone would remove a plastic envelope from a basket hanging in the rafters and hand me a paper to read. ...

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Cimarrones, Theater, and the State

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pp. 180-192

Despite its celebrity as a center for African traditions and colorful festivals, the small town of Curiepe does not often attract many visitors from beyond the borders of Venezuela. So it was with some surprise that the first two people I met upon arriving for the great San Juan fiesta of 1989 were both Americans, ...

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The Ecuadorian Levantamiento Indígena of 1990 and the Epitomizing Symbol of 1992: Reflections on Nationalism, Ethnic-Bloc Formation, and Racialist Ideologies

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pp. 193-218

In the mid-1970s I argued for a perspective that could encompass processes called ethnocide and ethnogenesis. These processes were taken to be complementary features in systems of radical change. My focus was on the Canelos Quichua people of Amazonian Ecuador who were among the first indigenous people in the moist tropics of South America to "accept" Christianity …

Notes on Contributors

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pp. 219-222


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pp. 223-266


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pp. 267-277

E-ISBN-13: 9781587291104
Print-ISBN-13: 9780877455479

Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 1996