Earth Beings is the fruit of Marisol de la Cadena's decade-long conversations with Mariano and Nazario Turpo, father and son, runakuna or Quechua people. Concerned with the mutual entanglements of indigenous and nonindigenous worlds, and the partial connections between them, de la Cadena presents how the Turpos' indigenous ways of knowing and being include and exceed modern and nonmodern practices. Her discussion of indigenous political strategies—a realm that need not abide by binary logics—reconfigures how to think about and question modern politics, while pushing her readers to think beyond "hybridity" and toward translation, communication that accepts incommensurability, and mutual difference as conditions for ethnography to work.
In the early twentieth century, Peruvian intellectuals, unlike their European counterparts, rejected biological categories of race as a basis for discrimination. But this did not eliminate social hierarchies; instead, it redefined racial categories as cultural differences, such as differences in education or manners. In Indigenous Mestizos Marisol de la Cadena traces the history of the notion of race from this turn-of-the-century definition to a hegemony of racism in Peru.
De la Cadena’s ethnographically and historically rich study examines how indigenous citizens of the city of Cuzco have been conceived by others as well as how they have viewed themselves and places these conceptions within the struggle for political identity and representation. Demonstrating that the terms Indian and mestizo are complex, ambivalent, and influenced by social, legal, and political changes, she provides close readings of everyday concepts such as marketplace identity, religious ritual, grassroots dance, and popular culture, as well as of such common terms as respect, decency, and education. She shows how Indian has come to mean an indigenous person without economic and educational means—one who is illiterate, impoverished, and rural. Mestizo, on the other hand, has come to refer to an urban, usually literate, and economically successful person claiming indigenous heritage and participating in indigenous cultural practices. De la Cadena argues that this version of de-Indianization—which, rather than assimilation, is a complex political negotiation for a dignified identity—does not cancel the economic and political equalities of racism in Peru, although it has made room for some people to reclaim a decolonized Andean cultural heritage.
This highly original synthesis of diverse theoretical arguments brought to bear on a series of case studies will be of interest to scholars of cultural anthropology, postcolonialism, race and ethnicity, gender studies, and history, in addition to Latin Americanists.
A World of Many Worlds
Marisol de la Cadena and Mario Blaser, editors Duke University Press, 2018 Library of Congress GN320.W75 2018
A World of Many Worlds is a search into the possibilities that may emerge from conversations between indigenous collectives and the study of science's philosophical production. The contributors explore how divergent knowledges and practices make worlds. They work with difference and sameness, recursion, divergence, political ontology, cosmopolitics, and relations, using them as concepts, methods, and analytics to open up possibilities for a pluriverse: a cosmos composed through divergent political practices that do not need to become the same.
Contributors. Mario Blaser, Alberto Corsín Jiménez, Déborah Danowski, Marisol de la Cadena, John Law, Marianne Lien, Isabelle Stengers, Marilyn Strathern, Helen Verran, Eduardo Viveiros de Castro