This volume on regional intellectual history opens up a new horizon in the study of Andean and perhaps even of Latin American society in general. Tamayo Herrera (who has taught most of his life at the San Antonio Abad University in Cuzco) proposes that the twentieth-century indigenista movement in Peru is not, as it has been generally believed, the result of major ideological shifts produced first in Europe (nativism, primitivism), and then in Latin America as the aftermath of the First World War (p. 175).
Tamayo Herrera assembles a wealth of local materials (journals, shortlived magazines, oral tradition, newspapers, association memberships and annals, libraries, local art and personal archaeological collections, museums, minibiographies of local members of the regional intelligentsia) to demonstrate that the first and second waves—Escuela Cuzqueña (1909-20) and its national expansion, after the Student Congress of 1920, to 1931—of the Peruvian indigenista movement, had origins in the long-growing awareness of a fraction of the Cuzco intelligentsia—an anticlerical intelligentsia, to be sure—of its own material reality.
The kind of research carried out to bring forth the local source material, together with the careful and well-informed theoretical framework laid out for the problem of what Tamayo calls “el estudio de la mentalidad de la inteligencia cuzqueña,” places Tamayo with the breed of Peruvian scholars who have been—during the last twenty years or so—tracing a substantial new image for the history of their country. For general economic and social history, Tamayo relies heavily on the work of Pablo Macera and Aníbal Quijano, to name two Peruvian historians of this new school. The methodological awareness of Tamayo in setting out the limits of his discourse as well as the categories to be used in his study are grounded firmly in Gramsci’s concept of the organic intellectual, and modified by the theoretical work of French social scientists such as Gaston Bourthoul and George Duby. This enables Tamayo to conceive of intellectual history as one of the many possible re-presentations of life and society.
In Historia del indigenismo cuzqueño, Tamayo rightly integrates, by elaborating his own criteria of generation and stages of indigenismo (incaista, anticlericalista, cienticista, profética, reinvindicadora, etc.) the thought of great writers and actors such as the Inca Garcilaso, Túpac Amaru, and Mariátegui, with the work and writing of lesser-known but equally important men and women who as lawyers, legislators, anthropologists, collectors, painters, occasional writers, and musicians contributed to the production of an ever-mounting set of facts and the development of an ideology of self-identity. The Inca is thus portrayed as laying down the keystone of indigenismo with his emphasis on the recovery of a noble Indian past. This current of thought, readily embraced by other mestizos and descendants of the Inca nobility, will be maintained throughout colonial days, feeding in part Túpac Amaru’s rebellion. Finally, at the end of the nineteenth century, spurred by positivism and the new scientific emphasis on observable phenomena, this current produced the inevitable connection between the glorious Inca past and the miserable Indian present. From here to Valcárcel’s sense of the possibility of an Indian reclamation of the country and even the dream of an Indian renaissance is shown to be all contained in the early kernels of this ideological formation.
How Tamayo conjugates local and central historical events with the emergence of certain key local personalities in Cuzco and the constant influx of European ideological currents, to bring forth a clear sense of the development of indigenismo (he maintains the current definition of it as the ideology of the “misti” class in Cuzco) is to my mind one of the major strengths of the book. Even though its last chapter on neoindigenismo, which tries to show how this ideology has infiltrated all sectors of a national society to the extent of becoming an important part of recent political platforms, is open to debate, this book will, I think, become a good example of how anyone seeking to work in this neglected but obviously very rich field can set out to do a regional intellectual history and thus revise what has so far been written from an almost exclusive centralist and thus incomplete point of view.