The nationalist projects of the Latin American countries in the nineteenth century are only recently beginning to receive the attention they deserve. Andeanist ethnologists find this attention compelling. Many have perceived their mission as the search for parallels between contemporary villages and towns and pre-Hispanic cultural principles and social institutions, documented by ethno-historians such as Tom Zuidema and John Murra. This search for cultural continuities has been criticized by a new generation of ethnologists and historians, as it assumes that colonial and republican histories and regional differences are negative constraints on, rather then sources of divergence in, “Andean” mani-festations of society and culture. These critics support their claims by pointing to nineteenth-century nationalist projects, which have contributed to sociocultural innovation.1

In their discourse on nationalist projects, nineteenth-century elites deprecated local institutions and ignored customary law; instead, they looked to the West for...

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