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Shifting from urban metropole to rural hinterland, chapter 2 resituates the social meaning of Indigenous education in the context of escalating legal battles between Aymara communities and the oligarchic state over communal landholding rights. Borrowing the ethnographic concept of “situated literacy,” the chapter insists that the currency of rural schooling was leveraged by the inflationary value of the “scriptural economy,” as Aymara communities, caciques, and their scribes mobilized the legal defense of ancient land titles and bombarded the government with letters and petitions. Aymara communities coveted literacy and the “alphabet school” as a site of communal self-empowerment in their struggle to communicate their ideas, protests, and demands within Bolivia's dominant political and public spheres. In the 1910s and 1920s, a new generation of Indigenous letrados and schoolteachers began establishing isolated rural schools, and Aymara intellectuals crafted utopian manifestos demanding communal land, social justice, and political inclusion for Bolivia's “Indian race.”

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