Brooke Larson is Professor Emerita of History at Stony Brook University; author of
Warisata: Forging an Intercultural School Experiment
Chapter 3 revisits the origins and development of Warisata—a uniquely collaborative, intercultural, and community-based school that sprang out of the larger Aymara grassroots literacy project of the 1920s. Warisata broke new ground and flourished as the nation's most innovative intercultural experiment during the 1930s. The chapter takes an ethnographic look at the school's innovations in communal self-governance, inter-ayllu networks of economic self-sufficiency and reciprocity, and the school culture and curricular norms, all of which pivoted on utopian promises of Indian liberation and national integration. This ayllu-school became a powerful (and contested) platform of urban elites and educational reformers and a mecca for progressive pilgrims from Mexico, Peru, and the United States. The Bolivian state briefly enshrined Warisata as its official model of “Indigenal Education.” This chapter reconsiders what was gained and lost when the original Warisata experiment was appropriated and institutionalized under state authorities after a decade of autonomy.