This article is an exercise in relocating academic ethnohistory vis-à-vis vernacular ethnohistorical thinking in two respects. First,it questions whether the metahistorical native versus white opposition, which forms an all-but-unquestioned premise of most ethnohistorical paradigms, at all matches local paradigms. Second, it compares academia's “own”way of getting at colonial and postcolonial historical problems with the unofficial paleography (and archaeology) through which villagers explore the same. In Huarochirí Province (Peru), popular ethnohistory serves not to reify the concept of the autochthonous but to relativize it and detach it from the dominant national paradigm of racialized ethnicity. Its vocation is to explain how villagers can be “authentic” heirs of the land and yet not incur the racially unacceptable category of the “Indian.”Collaboration with a folk paleographer shows how the colonial experience is construed—via a legend of collective “Indian”suicide—as the transcendence of racial categories.
Frank Salomon; Unethnic Ethnohistory: On Peruvian Peasant Historiography and Ideas of Autochthony. Ethnohistory 1 July 2002; 49 (3): 475–506. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00141801-49-3-475
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