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The Mapuche in Modern Chile:
A Cultural History

Joanna Crow

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"A valuable and original work by its focus (cultural history), the scope of the period, and the cases examined (historiographical, anthropological, literary), which has not been done in Chile until now."--André Menard, University of Chile

The Mapuche are the most numerous, most vocal and most politically involved indigenous people in modern Chile. Their ongoing struggles against oppression have led to increasing national and international visibility, but few books provide deep historical perspective on their engagement with contemporary political developments.
Building on widespread scholarly debates about identity, history and memory, Joanna Crow traces the complex, dynamic relationship between the Mapuche and the Chilean state from the military occupation of Mapuche territory during the second half of the nineteenth century through to the present day. She maps out key shifts in this relationship as well as the intriguing continuities.
Presenting the Mapuche as more than mere victims, this book seeks to better understand the lived experiences of Mapuche people in all their diversity. Drawing upon a wide range of primary documents, including published literary and academic texts, Mapuche testimonies, art and music, newspapers, and parliamentary debates, Crow gives voice to political activists from both the left and the right. She also highlights the growing urban Mapuche population.
Crow's focus on cultural and intellectual production allows her to lead the reader far beyond the standard narrative of repression and resistance, revealing just how contested Mapuche and Chilean histories are. This ambitious and revisionist work provides fresh information and perspectives that will change how we view indigenous-state relations in Chile.

Joanna Crow is lecturer in Latin American Studies at the University of Bristol.

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Choice Outstanding Academic Title - 2013

this outstanding book provides an original and well-documented perspective on the history of indigenous people in Chile…summing up: Essential.

This sensitively written book provides readers with a full appreciation of the plight of the Mapuche in modern Chile. Its lucid prose, free of the jargon that all too often mars such works, made it a joy to read.
--International Affairs

This lucidly written book adds to the increasingly rich literature dealing with strategies employed by indigenous groups in Latin America as they negotiate with central states for greater cultural and political autonomy.
--American Historical Review

A nuanced and insightful analysis of the myriad ways in which Mapuche have responded to state notions of ethnic and national identity.
--Journal of Latin American Studies

Crow shows that binary representations (victim-oppressor) are only one of the many expressions of Mapuche-Chilean relations, and she creates a reading approach that reflect this complexity.
--Mester, 42 (1)

We can be pleased with this publication because there rarely appear non-Hispanic books about the Mapuche…. [A] fascinating and original book.
--La Chispa: The Latin America Magazine

Crow convincingly breaks with the tradition of classifying the Mapuche too simply as victims and the rest of the people as victimizers. For example, she demonstrates that Mapuche chiefs fought side by side with Chilean conquistadors during la Pacificación. At the same time, she points out that governmental debates about the “Indian question” have always been varied and contradictory, including under dictatorial regimes.

Shows how the discourse of metizaje (cultural and racial mixing), instead of granting the Mapuche people an increased presence within Chilean society, allows for the ignoring of their existence, putting contemporary Mapuche identity in doubt or denial.
--Hispanic American Historical Review

A ground-breaking contribution to the emerging field of Mapuche studies....Goes beyond a classic chronological narrative to illustrate how specific images about the past are articulated, exchanged, and disputed within particular historical formations....[and] demonstrates the profoundly dialogical and contested nature of culture in the context of interethnic relations in Chile.
--Mountain Research and Development

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