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Race, Culture and Social Hierarchy in Peruvian History[]

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Peru - race and class is a short title for these pages which have been opened initially to deal with the subject matter of the University of London SAS-ISA workshop (conference / seminar): Race, Culture and Social Hierarchy in Peruvian History, School of Advanced Study, Institute for the Study of the Americas, Tavistock Square, London, UK. Monday, 10 March, 2008.


The draft (starter) notes (the stub) for this page were written for the Friday, 14/3/08 edition of Minkanews, in which ‘Minkapedia Corner’ covered the SAS-ISA Workshop.

{These notes are seen as a stub or starter for the collaborative editing of these pages by a network comprising initially / principally those attending the workshop.}

Tavistock Square -- for those who do not know London -- is one of four Georgian - early Victorian squares (plazas) around which significant sections of the older part of London University are located. This is also a part of London associated with the early-twentieth century Bloomsbury Set. More infamously, across the other side of the square, a suicide bomber blew up a red London Transport bus – a tragedy to which reference is made later.

Aims of workshop[]

The intention of the workshop was to provide an opportunity for Peruvianists-- mainly in the area of history and mainly based in the UK -- to come together to discuss themes under the general title Race, Culture and Social Hierarchy. The title and arrangement of the six papers was chosen in order to provide the widest appeal. (Only the threat of hurricane force winds last Monday and a rainstorm kept a few normally determined Peru enthusiasts away.) The six papers spanned the five or more centuries of Peruvian history since (and just prior) to the conquest - in neat chronological order. At the same time they were sufficiently specialised to be able to warrant the presence of subject-gurus and to contribute to this post-doctorate level debate, which took place on the hallowed turf of the old Institute for Latin American Studies.

{This note appeared in the Minka version: These brief notes are an introduction to extended articles being prepared for Minkapedia.}

The speakers: introduction[]

The participants include Gabriela Ramos, the only Latin American (Minkanews readers will be interested to know that Gabriela comes from Lima) and Latinamericanist historian at the University of Cambridge and who is a specialist in studies concerning the indigenous (conquered) people in the early colonial period and the (new colonial / viceregal) State and the Church. Gabriela Ramos presented a paper titled The construction of the Indian under Colonial Rule. Natalia Sobrevilla Perea convened the workshop-seminar together with host James Dunkerley, retiring director of the Institute. Her paper Coloured by the Past? The Birth of the Armed Forces and the Question of Race charted a transition from a colony dependent on caste-based militias to the early republican army reformed by President Gamarra yet still having a structured heirarchy with characteristics of race, class and caste: batallions of pardos, comercios etc. Natalia Sobrevilla Perea teaches at the University of Kent. Coming from New Mexico State University Iñigo Garcia-Bryce examined the language of class in nineteenth century Peru. The paper focused principally on the artisans who at the time comprised around 15 percent of the population. Following a break the workshop proceeds to the twentieth century and the paper Indigenous versus indigenista ideologies in the Central Andes: revisiting political movements of the 1920s and 1930s. Fiona Wilson, from the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex has had long experience of Andean communities, most notably that of Tarma and disentangles the surrogate voice of the indigenista (liberal enthusiasts for aspects of the Ande) from that of the (real) indigenous Andean. In the paper Workers, Race and the Making of the Peruvian State, Paulo Drinot examines the formation of the new mestizo wherein the rural Andean is transformed into the worker and (hence it was suggested at the time) a citizen. Finally Patricia Oliart, Newcastle University, contributes (Re)inventing 'el Perú de Todas las Sangres'. Translations of Multiculturalism in State Offices and the Media in the XXI Century which brings us to the post-Arguedian (Jose Maria Arguedas) period and the emergence of contemporary Peru.

The speakers: retrospectives[]

This section is open for a more detailed summary of the previous (to the current paper) output of each speaker.

The papers: abstracts[]

This section is open for more detailed abstracts with links to the full version if possible.

Accessibility to readers in Peru[]

{Please indicate if full versions of your work are in the Biblioteca Nacional del Peru collections and are catalogued. Archiving: categories (P), (N), W and "Published" could be deposited by you or your publisher with the BNP. Please indicate if available online / cost to viewer in Peru / if in Spanish.}


Discussion in the workshop[]

Please enter here the text of questions and comments you may have made in the workshop. If possible also record how you understood the reply. Put the question or comment in treble equation marks (===Question?===).

Discussion about the contents of these pages[]

{Click Discussion tab and write comments in "edit mode". Let viewers of this article know that a discussion point is being made by placing footnote or 'note in text'. (See discussion pages of this article)}

History and the Minkanews reader.[]

What is the relevance of all this to the Minkanews reader who statistically may well be a member of the Andean diaspora (e.g. Peruvian living in the UK) and aiming for citizenship in their adopted country? The report into the bombing of that red bus across the square from the Institute and the Runneymede reports about Bolivians and Ecuadorians in London / the UK all point to a process of alienation and deracination (cutting off from one's root cultural heritage) affecting the second generation of those who migrate. Historians can be seen as the prime guardians, even (re)creators of ‘heritage’ and as the shock troops in the war against the cultural nihilism (produced by the rejection of both root and reception cultures). And it is this nihilism which we are told produces at once the suicide bomber and the formation of second-generation street-gangs. This is the now-familiar ‘roots’ (deracination) argument. If you think this over-eggs the case for the study of history try 'doing heritage' without historians. And the subject matter? Well race, class (and caste) obsess both British and Peruvian society so those topics are better than most to start with.

Beyond the workshop[]

This space for further materials under title 'Peru - Race and Class' (not from the 10/3/08 workshop).

Continued . . .