The Andes Imagined

The Andes Imagined: Indigenismo, Society, and Modernity

Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    The Andes Imagined
    Book Description:

    InThe Andes Imagined,Jorge Coronado not only examines but also recasts theindigenismomovement of the early 1900s. Coronado departs from the common critical conception ofindigenismoas 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 ofindigenismoas 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 makeindigenismorepresentational practices a privileged site for the examination of the region's cultural negotiation of modernization. His analysis reveals a paradox whereby the un-modernindiobecomes the symbol for the modern itself.

    The Andes Imaginedoffers 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.

    eISBN: 978-0-8229-7356-0
    Subjects: History, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xvi)
    (pp. 1-24)

    This book explores the contradictions that lie at the center ofindigenismo, 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 government policies, indigenismo endeavored to vindicate the area’s indigenous peoples after centuries of abuse and marginalization. In order to achieve this goal, it promoted the reconfiguration of society such that it would be more amenable to theindio, the term used to designate all indigenous people. Without exception, the discourses...

  6. CHAPTER ONE THE REVOLUTIONARY INDIO: José Carlos Mariátegui’s Indigenismo
    (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 process of Latin American culture of that period, as an alternative to the one imposed by the Creole oligarchy. It is a question of a distinct rationality, that even then some proposed to recognize as ‘indoamerican’” ("Prólogo” x). The rationality that Quijano terms “indoamerican” is part and parcel of indigenismo. In this citation and elsewhere, such as in his article “Modernity, Identity, and Utopia in Latin America,” Quijano argues for...

  7. CHAPTER TWO A MODERN ANDEAN CULTURE? José Ángel Escalante and Indigenismo at Odds
    (pp. 52-74)

    On February 3, 1927, thecusqueñopolitician 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 thepolémica del indigenismo, an overlooked but highly significant chapter in the history of Latin American indigenismo, took place during the course of 1927 and produced reverberations that were felt in intellectual circles for years to follow. The majority of the participants and the specifics of their contributions, however, were largely forgotten by intellectual history (with some notable exceptions, such as Pablo Macera...

  8. CHAPTER THREE (UN)HAPPY ENDINGS: Film, Modernity, and Tradition in Carlos Oquendo de Amat
    (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, at the same time that they intimate the desire to forget quickly and seamlessly a chronic sense of underdevelopment.² Recently, the Peruvian critic Mirko Lauer has suggested that vanguard poets and intellectuals “gazed from the technological density of the city in the direction...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR AN ASSEMBLY OF VOICES: Labor and the Publics of Print
    (pp. 102-133)

    In the flurry of critical and narratival works that the indigenistas are best known for, such as Mariátegui’sSiete ensayos de interpretación de la realidad peruana, Valcárcel’sTempestad en los Andes, and Enrique López Albújar’sCuentos andinos(1920), the conception of a modern Andean region relies on a highly idealized version of the indio. As we have seen in chapter 1, for example, Mariátegui relied essentially upon turning the indigenous population and their culture into an allegory, anchoring a narrative in which the indio would necessarily foment a social revolution. Although Mariátegui’s characterization of the indio in his literary and...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE PHOTOGRAPHS AT THE EDGE: Martín Chambi and the Limits of Lettered Culture
    (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 neoindigenismo of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s—somehow skirted the interior life of indigenous persons that later figures, such as José María Arguedas or Miguel Angel Asturias, would absorb into and portray through their work. The privileged, lettered position that these intellectuals assumed, and from whence their authority to speak for...

    (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 Indigenous Federation) and the CONAMAQ (National Council of Ayllus and Markas of the Qullasuyo), have augmented their abilities to represent indigenous peoples by carefully maneuvering notions of Indian ethnicity that have international purchase (52). In so doing, these social organs have effectively traded on, with varying degrees of success, notions...

  12. NOTES
    (pp. 169-184)
    (pp. 185-194)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 195-208)