Rethinking History and Myth
Indigenous South American Perspectives on the Past
Exploring the mythic histories of indigenous South Americans
Rethinking History and Myth explores narrative and ritual expressions of mythic and historical modes of consciousness among indigenous peoples of the Andean, Amazonian, and intermediate lowland regions of South America. Focusing on indigenous perspectives of South American interaction with Western colonial and national societies, the authors trace the interrelationships between myth and history to demonstrate how these peoples have developed a dynamic interpretive framework that enables them to understand their past.
Examining specific cultural and linguistic traditions that shape the social consciousness of native South Americans, the authors show that historical and mythic consciousness work together in forming new symbolic strategies that allow indigenous peoples to understand their societies as at least partially autonomous groups within national and global power structures. This complex process is used to interpret the history of interethnic relations, allowing both individuals and groups to change themselves and alter their own circumstances.
"An important contribution to South American Indian studies, both as a theoretical advance and as a substantive study of cultural dynamics. Rethinking History and Myth contributes to the further destruction of the artificial distinction between Andean and Amazonian studies."--Kenneth M. Kensinger, author of The Cashinahua of Eastern Peru and editor of Marriage Practices in Lowland South America
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