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The Inner Life of Mestizo Nationalism

The Inner Life of Mestizo Nationalism

Estelle Tarica
Volume: 22
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    The Inner Life of Mestizo Nationalism
    Book Description:

    Estelle Tarica’s work shows how modern Mexican and Andean discourses about the relationship between Indians and non-Indians create a unique literary aesthetic that is instrumental in defining the experience of mestizo nationalism. Engaging with narratives by Jesús Lara, José María Arguedas, and Rosario Castellanos, among others, Tarica explores the rhetorical and ideological aspects of interethnic affinity and connection.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-5658-5
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction: Intimate Indigenismo
    (pp. xi-xxx)

    What is indigenismo? One approach defines indigenismo as a discourse by non-Indians about Indians in Latin America, one that originated in the sixteenth century and continues into the present day. Such a definition emphasizes that indigenismo comes from a perspective that is external and alien to indigenous people themselves. This approach orients us toward the social relationship underlying indigenismo, a relationship between those who speak and those who are spoken about. It alerts us to the cultural differences and disparities in power that characterize that relationship and invites a meditation on the colonial foundations of Latin American societies. Indigenismo can...

  5. Chapter One Anatomy of Indigenismo
    (pp. 1-29)

    Since the 1970s, scholarly accounts of indigenismo have focused on its status as a discourse of cultural and political domination of Indians, which is indeed a central and defining aspect of indigenista discourse. Although challenging existing racial hierarchies, indigenismo remains a kind of colonialism and a kind of racism, and has rarely been a friend to organized and self-identified Indian resistance movements, or to ideas of collective indigenous autonomy and self-determination. Despite its origins as a contestatory political discourse, indigenismo has perpetuated Indians’ subordination to the state in the name of civilizing them. Furthermore, because in the latter half of...

  6. Chapter Two The Voice of the Son in Jesús Lara’s Surumi
    (pp. 30-79)

    Close to eighty years old, Jesús Lara looks back on his life and sees continuity, a “guiding thread” to his life. This thread is a certain kind of writing, writing as identity: he writes as someone in particular, the son of the Indian race. The statement is itself a proclamation of identity: “I am mestizo.” As such, it might initially appear self-evident: if Laraisa mestizo, howelsecould he write, since mestizo identity implies, by definition, that one has Indian ancestry? Borges once asked this question about writing and identity but ingenuously so, in order to underscore its...

  7. Chapter Three José María Arguedas and the Mediating Voice
    (pp. 80-136)

    This passage by José María Arguedas, taken from his seminal essay “La novela y el problema de la expresión literaria en el Perú” [The Novel and the Problem of Literary Expression in Peru], refers concretely to the central dilemma of his process of literary construction: how to eliminate Quechua words and “quechua-isms” from his writing without losing the essence of what he wished to communicate.¹ It was also a formulation that Arguedas used to describe the dilemma for the Quechua speaker learning Spanish, i.e., for those gaining a new degree of social mobility in a diglossic society. This linguistic process...

  8. Chapter Four Rosario Castellanos at the Edge of Entanglement
    (pp. 137-182)

    What is essential to a given life? The indigenista threads of Rosario Castellanos’s fictional autobiographyBalún Canán(1957) did not start out essential but became so, woven in as part of her developing aesthetic and ideological vision and particularly as part of her feminist vision. Castellanos was in Europe when she first began to narrate her attachment to Chiapas, Mexico, her home state, through indigenismo. In 1950, before her departure abroad, she spoke with outright disdain and self-loathing of Chiapas, evidenced repeatedly in her letters to Mexican philosopher Ricardo Guerra, her lover at the time. She mocked “the man of...

  9. Conclusion: Listening to Small Voices
    (pp. 183-200)

    Two major threads constitute “national time” in the production of indigenista novels. One of these threads is a form of re-presentation of the unified or synchronous temporal experience of nationality. As Benedict Anderson suggests, the novel, by positing that events which occur in different spaces are simultaneous with one another, unifies disparate experiences into a singular and coherent entity, into a “solid community” moving as one through history. Underlying it is “homogenous, empty time . . . marked . . . by temporal coincidence, and measured by clock and calendar” (24). This view of national time allows us to consider...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 201-218)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 219-232)
  12. Index
    (pp. 233-242)