Nation-States and Indians in Latin America

Nation-States and Indians in Latin America

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Edited by Greg Urban, Joel Sherzer

Greg Urban is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, and Joel Sherzer is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas.

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Description

What happens to Amerindian cultures when they come into contact with the Europe-derived nation-states of Latin America? How are the nation-states in turn affected by this experience? These questions motivate the essays in Nation-States and Indians in Latin America. While furnishing a sweeping overview of Latin America, the essays are empirically focused, dealing with such issues as how the Guatemalan tourist industry appropriates indigenous clothing to create a national image, how highland Indian music has adapted to Peruvian state interventions since the colonial period, and how debates developed in turn-of-the-century Brazil over the proper method for integrating isolated Indian populations into the national society.

The essays also pose a challenge to classical anthropological theory and methodology, in which Indian cultures have been analyzed in isolation, without regard for the role of state interventions. The essays suggest not only that anthropologists should pay attention to the nation-state contexts of their research but also that modern nation-states are themselves appropriate objects for anthropological investigation.