María Fernanda Esteban Palma – “If you can smell it, hear it and feel it, then you are indigenous”. Sensorial affectation and agentic realism as applied to the analysis of indigenous formation processes in Central Colombia

21 April 2020
Online seminar

WHO: María Fernanda Esteban Palma, Santo Domingo Centre of Excellence for Latin American Research. Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, British Museum.

ABSTRACT: In Colombia, the constitutional reformation of 1991 embraced multiculturalism after nearly 200 years of imposing a unifying discourse of cultural mestizaje. This cultural unification facilitated the formation of Colombia as a modern nation state, but at the expense of the Andean indigenous population that survived the colonial period, as they had to abandon their cultural identity to be able to settle in urban spaces. Paradoxically, urban indigeneities are recognized since 1991, but the members of indigenous groups are expected to demonstrate cultural difference vis-a-vis the majoritarian population. As a result, many of the indigenous people who are currently rebuilding their culture have been accused of inauthenticity and instrumentalism. The Muisca people from Bogota, for example, have built their difference around a sense of spirituality which the non-indigenous majorities frame as ‘invented’.

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