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Volume 62 / Humanities

HISTORY: 19TH AND 20TH CENTURIES


Peru

STEVEN J. HIRSCH, Associate Professor of History, University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg

PUBLICATIONS ON REPUBLICAN PERU for this biennium continue to evince the increasing professionalization of Peruvian historiography, a trend observed in the past three HLAS volumes. Incipient subfields focusing on the frontier, ecology, medicine, education, drugs, and political culture were the subjects of innovative and well-researched historical studies. Existing topic areas like caudillismo, immigration, urban labor, foreign relations, and popular culture were examined and recast using new documentary sources and sophisticated interdisciplinary approaches. Impressive regional and local histories that integrate national level processes also appeared during this reporting period.

Indicative of the maturation of Peruvian historical scholarship is the recent mini-boom in historiographical studies, which for some time have been in short supply. Kapsoli's book-length treatment (item #bi2003000696#), and essays by Drinot (item #bi2006001763#), Hampe Martínez (item #bi2002005982#), Guerra Martinière (item #bi2006001766#), and Aguirre (item #bi2006001761#) reflect a new self-awareness and growing interest in the past and present direction of Peruvian historical production. These studies provide valuable bibliographies and insights on the intellectual formation and theoretical and methodological preoccupations of a new generation of Peruvian historians.

Another noticeable and welcome trend in the literature is the emergence of comparative, Pan-Andean analyses. The superb studies by García Jordan (item #bi2006003946#) and Larson (item #bi2006001767#) illustrate the considerable insights to be gained from breaking with a strict national historical paradigm. García Jordan's amply documented analysis highlights the failure of the Peruvian and Bolivian states, working closely with Catholic missionaries, to effectively "civilize," nationalize, and incorporate the indigenous peoples of the Amazonian frontier between 1820 and 1940. Larson's study of race and nation-building in the central Andean republics in the 19th century examines the extreme "racial binarism" that prevailed in southern Peru and Bolivia. She also elucidates the distinctive precursor to the indigenista discourses of Peru's modernizing Creole elites.

Scholarly contributions to the history of elite perspectives on the "Indian Problem," the indigenista movement, and the construction of Indian and mestizo racial and ethnic identities are on the rise. Several journal articles appeared on these topics during this review period. Undoubtedly the recent stirring of indigenous movements in Peru, while not as prominent as those in Ecuador and Bolivia, has stimulated scholarly interest in these topics. De la Cadena's book-length, ethnohistorical examination of these topics is worthy of special mention (see HLAS 61:821). Her thoroughly researched and innovative study analyzes how social norms of "decency" and "respect" influenced the social and cultural constructions of race and the vicissitudes of indigenista discourse and politics in 20th-century Cuzco.

Scholarly interest in the history of immigration and Peru's ethnic minorities (especially Asians) remains strong. Lausent-Herrera and McKeown's work on Peru's Chinese immigrants deserve special mention. Using archival sources and photographs, Lausent-Herrera illustrates the ways communitarian and religious organizations shaped the daily life of Chinese immigrants in Lima and the provinces from the 1840s–1940s (item #bi2003000710#). McKeown employs a comparative, transnational analysis to show that the Chinese in Peru pursued social mobility by presenting themselves as "transnational cosmopolitans" during the first three decades of the 20th century (item #bi2003003298#). Studies on Afro-Peruvians and the history of slavery in Peru were conspicuously absent for this review period.

Women's history and, to a lesser extent, the social construction of gender and gender relations continue to register modest gains. The edited volume by Elmore explores the impact of modernizing processes on women's daily life, socialization, and economic activities between c.1860 and 1930 (item #bi2006001764#). Annotated historical photographs of prominent female social activists and early feminists accompany the volume. Late-19th and early-20th-century women's politics, encompassing the domestic and public spheres, are examined in the works by Salazar Herrera (item #bi2006001774#) and Vegas García (item #bi2005006479#). Considerable scholarly space remains for the political history of elite and non-elite women in 20th-century Peru.

The most important contribution to the study of gender reviewed for this biennium was the work by Christiansen (item #bi2004003613#). Drawing on judicial records, Christiansen analyzes the complex interplay of elite and plebeian gender discourses and practices in Cajamarca in the second half of the 19th century. Her research explores the ways lower class men and women asserted claims to honor and respectability even as they deviated from elite gender norms.

Topics in 19th-century Peruvian history remain popular for scholars and amateur historians alike. Independence processes, the emergent civil society, and political culture of the early Republic and the War of the Pacific drew considerable attention. Among the best studies to appear on the 19th century for this review were Aljovín de Losada's and Garibaldi's. Clearly inspired by the new political history, Aljovín de Losada analyzes the links between contending social sectors, new political ideas and discourses, and the genesis of Peru's republican political order (item #bi2003000705#). His study cogently argues for the need to rethink the relationship between caudillos and constitutionalism, inasmuch as caudillos often cast themselves as defenders of constitutional rights during the early Republic. Focusing on Peruvian diplomacy during the Ramón Castilla era, Garibaldi demonstrates that Castilla vigorously defended Peru's territorial sovereignty and national interests while advocating inter-American cooperation and defense (item #bi2005002061#).

Recent publications on the history of popular culture, religion, and the environment have been scarce. Nevertheless, important contributions to these subfields appeared during this biennium. In particular, the sophisticated studies by Millones et al. (item #bi2003003299#), on Alianza Lima, the popular, predominantly Afro-Peruvian soccer team and by Muñoz Cabrejo (item #bi2003003297#) on early-20th-century public diversions in Lima merit special mention. Fonseca's outstanding work on Protestantism and its articulation with modernization processes between 1915–30 fills a major gap in the literature on the influence of minority religions in Peru (item #bi2006001765#). Seiner (item #bi2005002080#) and Lossio (item #bi2005002070#) have written two noteworthy studies on the impact of natural disasters, climate change, and state environmental regulation, and 19th-century environmental degradation in Lima respectively.

The writing on provincial history continues to be well represented. Scholarly works appeared on the social, economic, and political history of Ayacucho, Piura, Pasco, Cuzco, and Cajamarca. Similarly, valuable studies utilizing new archival sources were published on urban labor history. An exemplary study is Drinot's analysis of a major railway strike in Arequipa in 1934, based on pliegos de reclamos and company documents from the British-owned Peruvian Corporation (item #bi2005002379#). Drinot's study is atypical of this literature inasmuch as it departs from the ongoing trend to focus on Lima. Well-researched urban and labor histories are sorely needed for provincial capitals and towns. Likewise, 20th-century rural history and rural social movements deserve greater scholarly attention.

Business and economic history of republican Peru continue to be largely neglected topics. In addition, historical studies on demography, education, public health, and the family garnered sparse scholarly attention during this biennium review. Scholars also tended to overlook the history of Peru's governing institutions. This is a bit surprising in the wake of Peru's democratic recovery, following the collapse of Fujimori/Montesinos' scandalously corrupt, authoritarian government. Perhaps the publication of Gálvez Montero's (item #bi2003004959#) brief history of Peru's National Congress bodes well for future investigations into the history and character of Peru's democracy and its attendant political, legal, and judicial institutions and processes.


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