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Alterable geographies in/humanity, emancipation, and the spatial poetics of Lo Abigarrado in Bolivia

Winchell, Mareike (2023) Alterable geographies in/humanity, emancipation, and the spatial poetics of Lo Abigarrado in Bolivia. Critical Times, 6 (2). pp. 271-288. ISSN 2641-0478

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Identification Number: 10.1215/26410478-10437057


Like plantation slavery, Indigenous servitude on Bolivian haciendas raises crucial questions about the afterlives of colonial subjection. Engaging questions of colonialism, unfreedom, and emancipation across the Americas, this article examines how Quechua Bolivians remake landscapes defined by continued material traces of subjection and abiding racial inequalities. Rather than inhabiting this landscape as one of passive historical repetition, Quechua Bolivians use narratives and spatial practices to alter landscapes- including elderberry trees where kin were whipped, high mountain lakes constructed by forced laboring kin, and ravines and valley crevices that offered routes of escape from indentured labor and political violence. Such practices point to a politics of lo abigarrado (the motley), a term used to describe people whose labor itineraries and affective attachments have not been constrained by the frames of Mestizo citizenship and timeless Indigenous rootedness to place. Through this spatial poetics, Quechua families thwart nationalist paradigms of propertied redress to forge alternate plotlines of emancipation based on keeping time, and places, open to the demands of a violent past.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2023 11:21
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2024 20:25

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