Our Indigenous Ancestors: A Cultural History of Museums, Science, and Identity in Argentina, 1877…

Paperback | November 15, 2016

byCarolyne R. Larson

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Our Indigenous Ancestors complicates the history of the erasure of native cultures and the perceived domination of white, European heritage in Argentina through a study of anthropology museums in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Carolyne Larson demonstrates how scientists, collectors, the press, and the public engaged with Argentina’s native American artifacts and remains (and sometimes living peoples) in the process of constructing an “authentic” national heritage. She explores the founding and functioning of three museums in Argentina, as well as the origins and consolidation of Argentine archaeology and the professional lives of a handful of dynamic curators and archaeologists, using these institutions and individuals as a window onto nation building, modernization, urban-rural tensions, and problems of race and ethnicity in turn-of-the-century Argentina. Museums and archaeology, she argues, allowed Argentine elites to build a modern national identity distinct from the country’s indigenous past, even as it rested on a celebrated, extinct version of that past. As Larson shows, contrary to widespread belief, elements of Argentina’s native American past were reshaped and integrated into the construction of Argentine national identity as white and European at the turn of the century. Our Indigenous Ancestors provides a unique look at the folklore movement, nation building, science, institutional change, and the divide between elite, scientific, and popular culture in Argentina and the Americas at a time of rapid, sweeping changes in Latin American culture and society.

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Our Indigenous Ancestors complicates the history of the erasure of native cultures and the perceived domination of white, European heritage in Argentina through a study of anthropology museums in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Carolyne Larson demonstrates how scientists, collectors, the press, and the public engaged...

Carolyne R. Larson is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Wyoming.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:232 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:November 15, 2016Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271066970

ISBN - 13:9780271066974

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

Introduction

1 Magic in the Desert: Indigenous Bodies on Display in the Museo de La Plata, 1877–1906

2 Prized Objects: Archaeological Science and Public Actors in Buenos Aires, 1904–1930

3 El Alma del Norte: Northwestern Regionalism and Anthropology, 1900–1940

4 Sensational Discoveries: Heroes, Scandals, and the Popularization of Anthropology

Epilogue: Reflections and Remaining Questions

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Editorial Reviews

“In dialogue with the current literature on the role of indigenous peoples in the evolution of the Argentine nation, Our Indigenous Ancestors makes a crucial contribution to our understanding of how a particular interpretation of Argentina's past was produced and consumed in the contradictory interaction between science and colonialism.”

—Florencia E. Mallon, University of Wisconsin–Madison