RE-INTERINDI The Other Sides of the Indigenismo


icoProyectosRE-INTERINDI PROJECT «The Other Sides of the Indigenismo: A Socio-Historical Approach to Ethnic and Racial Categories and their Uses in Latin American Societies» (Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, State Secretariat for Research, Development and Innovation, HAR2013-41596-P, 2014-2017)

Main Researcher: Laura Giraudo (EEHA-CSIC) 

Research Team: Berta Ares Queija (EEHA-CSIC), Jesús Bustamante García (CCHS-CSIC), Juan Martín Sánchez y Emilio Gallardo Saborido (Universidad de Sevilla), Mirian Galante Becerrril (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid); Ricardo Antonio Cavalcanti-Schiel (Universidade Estadual de Campinas), Stephen E. Lewis (California State University), Lior Ben David (University of Tel Aviv), Abigail Elizabeth Adams (Central Connecticut State University), Héctor Jesús Huerto Vizcarra (Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicada), María Margarita Sosa Suarez (CDI, México), Manuel Burón Díaz (CCHS-CSIC). 

New collaborators (joined us 2015): Amanda Minks (University of Oklahoma), Joanne Rappaport (Georgetown University), Raúl Hernández Asensio (Instituto de  Estudios Peruanos), Nuria Sala y Vila (Universitat de Girona), Huascar Alberto Rodríguez García.

In this project, we use the expression «other sides of the indigenismo» to refer to the historical processes by which some of the foundational and programmatic elements of the indigenismo – especially its objectives of historical redemption of «the Indians» and cultural affirmation of «the Indian» («lo indígena») – result in an anti-historical reproduction reifying the hierarchical ethno-racial categories that make up the basic map representing the Latin American societies. 

In the middle decades of the twentieth century, the Indigenismo managed to establish itself as a socio-professional field with wide-ranging political, social and cultural effects on both local and national levels, as well as on continental scale. One of the most important elements in the constitution and projection of this indigenista field has been the crystallization and legitimation of a map of ethnic categories and categorizations (ascriptive social identities based on origin) regarding the Indians and their positions and relationships within society. In this research project, we contend that much of the political and scientific importance of Latin American indigenismo is to be found in the prominent role that this map has played and is still playing in the collective representations of Latin American societies and their members. 

For the study of this general thesis, we propose a broad perspective that integrates long-haul historical studies and analysis of cases and exemplary moments; an approach that combines theories and methodologies from various disciplines (history, sociology, anthropology, philology and law) in a common scientific strategy with the following two great objectives:

The first and main objective is to reconstruct the routes and historical processes of that map of ethnic categories and categorizations that configures the indigenista field, a map that is still in force and forms part of current debates. This legacy has enabled to reproduce repeatedly, up to present times, the stigmatization of the features and elements defined as belonging to the «indigenous identity».

A second objective is to scrutinize how the indigenous actors have historically participated in these processes. It is important to explore their ambivalent and conflictive uses of the ethnic categories, within the indigenista field and outside of it, contributing to their formation, transformations, rejections or alternatives. 

Both objectives will be developed here following four lines of research:

  1. «Colonial», «liberal» and «postcolonial» categories and archetypes;
  2. Identity-based categories of (supposedly) colonial origin in the indigenista field;
  3. The representations and images of «Indianness» between «self» and «the others»;
  4. The indigenista field and its relations with the so-called «social question».

KEY WORDS: Indigenismo; Indians; Ethnic and Racial Categories; Identities and Archetypes; Latin America; Colonial and Modern Periods; Actors; Social Question; Citizenship and Rights; Multiculturalism.


November, 2013

EEHA-CSIC, February 16-17, 2015

September, 2015

EEHA-CSIC, November 28-29, 2017