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Ebook Information

Comparative Arawakan Histories

Rethinking Language Family and Culture Area in Amazonia

The first synthesis of the writings of ethnologists, historians, and anthropologists on contemporary Arawakan cultures

Before they were largely decimated and dispersed by the effects of European colonization, Arawak-speaking peoples were the most widespread language family in Latin America and the Caribbean, and they were the first people Columbus encountered in the Americas. Comparative Arawakan Histories, in paperback for the first time, examines social structures, political hierarchies, rituals, religious movements, gender relations, and linguistic variations through historical perspectives to document sociocultural diversity across the diffused Arawakan diaspora.


"This volume is a true treasure-house for all those interested in South American indigenous ethnology for being highly informative, rich in details, and really interdisciplinary. Another very positive aspect is that the single contributions are interrelated and refer one to the other, producing a high level of coherence rarely achieved by volumes of this kind."--Peter Schröder, Anthropos Institut

"Unlike the Tupian and Cariban people of South America, little is known about the Arawakan diaspora as a cultural system. A tour de force of scholarship by individuals at the very cutting edge of their subdiscipline, Comparative Arawakan Histories provides a myriad of new insights into native life and breaks long-held stereotypes about relationships among language, culture, and ethos."--Norman Whitten, professor of anthropology and director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Jonathan D. Hill is chair of the Department of Anthropology at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and the author of Keepers of the Sacred Chants: The Poetics of Ritual Power in an Amazonian Society. Fernando Santos-Granero is a staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and the author of The Power of Love: The Moral Use of Knowledge amongst the Amuesha of Central Peru.

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