Making Ecuadorian Histories: Four Centuries of Defining Power

Paperback | August 1, 2009

byO. Hugo Benavides

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In Ecuador, as in all countries, archaeology and history play fundamental roles in defining national identity. Connecting with the prehistoric and historic pasts gives the modern state legitimacy and power. But the state is not the only actor that lays claim to the country's archaeological patrimony, nor is its official history the only version of the story. Indigenous peoples are increasingly drawing on the past to claim their rights and standing in the modern Ecuadorian state, while the press tries to present a "neutral" version of history that will satisfy its various publics.

This pathfinding book investigates how archaeological knowledge is used for both maintaining and contesting nation-building and state-hegemony in Ecuador. Specifically, Hugo Benavides analyzes how the pre-Hispanic site of Cochasquí has become a source of competing narratives of Native American, Spanish, and Ecuadorian occupations, which serve the differing needs of the nation-state and different national populations at large. He also analyzes the Indian movement itself and the recent controversy over the final resting place for the traditional monolith of San Biritute. Offering a more nuanced view of the production of history than previous studies, Benavides demonstrates how both official and resistance narratives are constantly reproduced and embodied within the nation-state's dominant discourses.

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From the Publisher

In Ecuador, as in all countries, archaeology and history play fundamental roles in defining national identity. Connecting with the prehistoric and historic pasts gives the modern state legitimacy and power. But the state is not the only actor that lays claim to the country's archaeological patrimony, nor is its official history the onl...

O. HUGO BENAVIDES is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Fordham University in New York City.

other books by O. Hugo Benavides

Format:PaperbackDimensions:252 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.6 inPublished:August 1, 2009Publisher:University Of Texas PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292722125

ISBN - 13:9780292722125

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. Ecuador's Political Hegemony: National and Racial Histories2. The Ecuadorianization of an Archaeological Site: National Identity at Cochasquí3. National Mechanisms of Appropriation: History, Territory, Gender, and Race at Cochasquí4. Between Foucault and a Naked Man: Racing Class, Sex, and Gender to the Nation's Past5. Alternative Histories: The Indian Movement's Encounter with Hegemony6. The Print Media's Contribution to National History: Who Owns the Past?7. Conclusion: Power, Hegemony, and National IdentityReferences Index

Editorial Reviews

This book is an important read for all students of Latin American history and for all those interested in the subject of nation building and the formation of national identity. - Virginia S. Williams, Winthrop University