Imagining Modernity in the Andes deals with the intersection of projects of modernity and cultural representation in the Andes. The Peruvian novelist and anthropologist José María Arguedas occupies a privileged place in a study that charts the social, cultural, and intellectual transformations that took place in the Andes throughout the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. In its examination of political and literary indigenistas of the 1920s, applied anthropology in the 1950s, the novelistic response to emigration and urbanization, the theory of transculturation in the era of transnationalism, and the appearance of new visual technologies in a cultural context long defined by the oral-textual divide, Imaginging Modernity in the Andes conducts the type of interdisciplinary approach which a full appreciation for the heterodoxies of Andean cultural production makes indispensable.
"The more compelling parts of this study are those in which Archibald detects, in images of violence and of the grotesque within Peruvian indigenista and on-indigenista literature, unsettlement and disarray in the Westernising political imagination. Archibald associates this with the presence of a 'cultural difference' (p.58) that the placing of indigeneity as a passive subalternity has been unsuccessful in smoothing over. These readings will make the book of interest to any who are concerned with the work of the authors contemplated. Principally, Archibald's consistent presentation of Arguedas' work as opening ways of thinking about ow to de-link 'indigenous agency from subalternity' (p.76) will no doubt be a point of dialogue for further reconsiderations of his work. Perhaps the most fertile idea connecting these readings is that o the paradoxical structure central to indigenismo as something that goes beyond the movement itself, and thus 'stimulates rather than forecloses political imagination' (p.50). Archibald is sensitive in every chapter to 'the ideological significance of certain meaningful flaws' (p.110) in the endeavor to imagine modernity in the Andes, and as a result her readings succeed in revealing the ongoing dynamism of many of these texts for thinking about this issue today."
-Journal of Latin American Studies Volume 45-2013
About the author:
Priscilla Archibald is Associate Professor of Spanish at Roosevelt University.