Charles Walker, ed. Entre la retorica y la insurgencia: las ideas y los movimientos sociales en los Andes, siglo XVIII. Cuzco, Peru: Centro de Estudios Regionales Andinos, 1996. 362 pp. No price listed (paper), ISBN 978-84-8387-029-7.
Reviewed by Thomas Krueggeler (Departamento de Historia, Universidad Nacional San Antonio Abad, Cusco, Peru)
Published on H-LatAm (December, 1996)
This collection of articles is the outcome of the conference "El siglo XVIII en los Andes" organized by the "Grupo de Trabajo de Historia y Antropologia Andinas" (CLACSO) that took place in Paris in 1993. According to the editor the book reflects the contributors' desire to better connect two main directions of historical research on the Andes: intellectual and social history. Articles by Juan Carlos Estenssoro Fuchs and Victor Peralta Ruiz concentrate on the history of ideas in the Andean world of the eighteenth century and on the forms of how strains of thought penetrated different segments of society. Jorge Hidalgo, Sergio Serulnikov, Nuria Sala i Vila, Emilio Garzon, and Scarlett O'Phelan present contributions that deal with what historians apparently like best about the century before independence, revolts and rebellions of popular classes. Contributions by Rossana Barragan (on conflicts among elite groups in La Paz) and Charles Walker (on the social and political discourse about "El Indio") round out this collection, which offers a considerable amount of new empirical data on Andean social movements and some interesting ideas about how to interpret this difficult century before independence.
Charles Walker presents a very stimulating introduction to the volume. He shows how studies on Andean social movements and the history of ideas have become more closely connected over the last decade or two and that a rigid division between social and intellectual history has been overcome. These changes reflect more general methodological and theoretical trends that--with some delay one is tempted to say--have influenced how historians and anthropologists approach Andean studies. Walker fervently insists on more holistic historical research that should push aside borders between subdivisions of the general field of history as much as possible. He discusses the significance of the "new cultural history," the "linguistic turn" and even Jurgen Habermas' concept of a civil society in the context of eighteenth-century Andean history and provides a broad bibliography. The introduction offers a clear picture of what the debate about "modernidad en los Andes" has achieved so far and where we should go from here.
Reviewing a collection of articles inevitably means running the risk of being accused of paying too much attention to one and too little to another article. Being aware of this dilemma, I still would like to make a few remarks about some papers. Victor Peralta's article on "Escolasticismo y criticismo en el Peru del siglo XVII" is one of the most important contributions to the volume. Based on profound knowledge of the intellectual history of Spain and the colonies, Peralta compares the religious and social thinking of Jesuits and Franciscans during the eighteenth century. The author traces the roots of the Franciscans' sympathy for "Inka nationalism" and asks if something like a Catholic enlightenment emerged in the Andes. Juan Carlos Estenssoro presents a different aspect of colonial intellectual history. He shows how plebian sectors of the city of Lima became acquainted with basic and sometimes vague notions of enlightenment and how they reformulated these ideas in theater and dance. This work, although not convincing in every aspect, is a good example of how to combine social and intellectual history.
Since Scarlett O'Phelan's important book Un siglo de rebeliones anti-coloniales (1988), we know the magnitude of rebellions that shook the Andes during the eighteenth century. The articles of this volume draw a nice picture of the complexity of these rebellions in terms of their political objectives and demands, mythological and ideological backgrounds, and strategies. Garzon's contribution on the role of the clergy in the Tupac Amaru rebellion, unfortunately, is a simplistic attack on all clergymen confronted with the uprising and lacks any sensitivity to the delicate matter of popular religiosity. Yet, Hidalgo (on rebellions in Arica, Tarapaca and Atacama), Serulnikov (in Chayanta), and Salas i Vila (in Huarochiri) offer a considerable amount of empirical data and thoughtful discussions.
Although most articles provide important information, not all of them show the same high level of abstraction and analysis. Also, some papers could more clearly respond to the editor's call to try to merge different aspects of historical research. However, the book is a fine contribution to eighteenth-century Andean history. The volume as a whole achieves its goal of linking the history of ideas with social history in general and with the history of social movements in particular. I recommend it to anybody who is interested in studying social movements, political ideas and ethnic identities, not just in the Andes but in Latin America at large.
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Thomas Krueggeler. Review of Walker, Charles, ed., Entre la retorica y la insurgencia: las ideas y los movimientos sociales en los Andes, siglo XVIII.
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