The city of the Cholos. Bolivia in the 19<super>th</super> and 20<super>th</super> centuries.
Soruco-Sologuren, Silvia S. Ximena
AbstractMy dissertation addresses the constitution of the Bolivian national project from the perspective of Criollo literature about Mestizos and Cholos between 1850 and 1950. I argue that modernity in this Andean country is constructed not only around the 'Indian question', but also through the stigmatization of Mestizos/Cholos. During the nineteenth century, Criollo drama does not articulate a racial typology or a national project because of the existence of weak regional elite groups competing for hegemony. This situation changes in 1899, when the elite of La Paz became the dominant group and established a direct relation between race and nation. Since then, two narratives have been constructed. The first one is the discourse of 'antimestizaje' (1900-1930), where Mestizos or Cholos are identified as the malady of the nation because of their mixed blood (Armando Chirveches and Enrique Finot's novels). At the time, the elite was obsessed with the body of the Chola, who was described as a 'prostitute', and her children as 'bastards'. The second one is the discourse of 'mestizaje' (1930-1950) that distinguish the Mestizo (completely westernized) from the Cholo (a grotesque in-between group). Throughout this distinction the elite idealizes mestizaje as the national symbol while reproducing Cholos' exclusion from politics (Carlos Medinaceli and Antonio Diaz Villamil's novels). Nevertheless, during the decade before the National Revolution of 1952, Raul Salmon produces theater plays exclusively addressing the Cholos. By analyzing the success of these dramas and its exclusion from the literary canon, I argue the constitution of a differentiated Cholo aesthetic and codes of belonging which subverts the Mestizo-Criollo national project. Finally, my dissertation counterpoints the literary reading with a historical approach of the Cholos' insertion to the market from the nineteenth century, to demonstrate their social mobility and economic accumulation, which the Criollos impeded to monopolize the market and the state. The growing presence of Cholos in the cities after the Independence and their constant displacement of the dichotomous logic of power---they are neither Indian nor Criollo, neither hegemonic nor completely subaltern---allow me to question postcolonial approach and its emphasis on binary, fixed identities.
19th20thBoliviaCenturiesCholosCityMestizajeNineteenth CenturySpanish TextTwentieth Century
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