INTERINDI Inter-American Indigenismo


icoProyectosINTERINDI Project «Inter-american Indigenismo: Institutions, networks and projects for the american continent, 1940-1960» (Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, HAR2008-03099/HIST, 2009-2010)This project aims to reconstruct, analyze, and reinterpret the institutions, projects, and personal and intellectual legacies of inter-American indigenismo during its apogee (1940-60).Based on archival research and primary sources, this reconsideration of indigenismo will permit a new assessment of the historical processes that defined the different phases of twentieth-century indigenismo and will inform studies about intellectual elites and national and international politics. Our findings should help us trace the roots of the present political and academic debate about indigenismo and place it in its proper historical context.

This research represents a new approach to the study of indigenismo. It is grounded in two fundamental principals:

  1. The importance of consulting primary sources (Documents, bibliographies, and oral histories) to reconstruct the history of the two foundational decades that explain indigenismo in Latin America and its role in the formation of modern states; and
  2. The need to remove the discussion of the indigenous question from the auto-referential context in which it developed, applying the same methodological and analytical approach that one would use to study any other similar historical process.

To achieve our main objective, we propose three specific projects:

  1. Study the organization and projects of the Inter-American Indian Institute in its first phase (1940-1960) for the purpose of writing a political-institutional history of its projects of continental integration.
  2. Study three prototypical national indigenist institutions (Mexico, Peru, and Guatemala) with a comparative focus in order to evaluate the degree to which indigenismo was implemented in three distinct national realities, never forgetting their relationship with the continental project.
  3. Study the personal and professional networks that developed among indigenistas nationally and internationally. This focus on networks, which has never been undertaken in previous studies of indigenismo, will permit us to situate the indigenistas in their broader political, social, and intellectual contexts.

The four participants in this project have each researched indigenismo for several years, and our collective research will likely provide a major methodological, empirical, and comparative advance. Working together, our broader perspective will help us to better understand twentieth century state and nation building processes in Latin America.

Project Team: Laura Giraudo, Juan Martín Sánchez, Marta Casaús Arzú, Stephen E. Lewis

Proyecto completo [enlace al pdf]
Final report [link to pdf]