Please note that this module was available
until 2012, but has since been
withdrawn and is no longer available.
Tutor: Professor Guy Thomson
This undergraduate final-year Advanced Option module explores the changing place of indigenous people and Indian communities (pueblos de indios) in southern Mexico & Guatemala and the Central Andes (Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia) from the late colonial period until recent times. Even before Independence in the 1820s, the Catholic Church and reformist governments were attempting to curtail the political autonomy and heterodox religious identities which indigenous communities had forged under colonial rule. These pressures intensified under republican government. The module explores how liberal state and nation-building projects sought to integrate and transform indigenous communities and how indigenous leaders responded to these external pressures.
The focus throughout is on how indigenous citizens used custom and tradition, legal and political institutions, political protest and rebellion, alliances and negotiation, to protect and enhance their positions within colonial and post-colonial societies. This approach offers a unique opportunity to study Latin American history from a subaltern perspective and to understand how various strategies of indigenous resistance to and strategic engagement with the state shaped the history of these countries.
The module provides an opportunity for final year students to study Latin American ethno-history in comparative perspective, and to develop inter-disciplinary skills, particularly the combination of history and anthropology.