Cynthia Radding

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Landscapes of Power and Identity presents three interrelated stories, starting with the authors personal journey over two decades of research and reflection about the relationships between human societies and the environments they create in North and South America. It links her experiences to the histories of conquest, native communities, and the colonial societies they helped to shape in two frontier regions of Spanish America: northwestern Mexico and eastern Bolivia. Beginning with the title, this book explores nuanced meanings of landscapes coming from art history, landscape architecture, history and anthropology. It makes special contributions as a comparative history grounded in extensive primary sources and fieldwork in both regions, and illustrates creative interdisciplinary methods of research, moving between landscapes and texts. Its theoretical matrix contributes to the conceptual frameworks of social and political ecology, addresses current debates in environmental history around the axis of nature and culture, and intersects the fields of environmental, cultural, and social history. The book's interest stems from the contrasting geographies and histories it weaves together, from the deserts of northern Mexico to the tropical rain forests of the greater Amazonian and Paraguayan river basins. Landscapes of Power and Identity opens new approaches to ethnohistory and to discussions of postcoloniality and of borderlands in the early Latin American republics from the vantage point of space, environment, and the changing landscapes created by ethnically and culturally mixed societies. The dimensions of power and identity are woven through each chapter, addressing fundamental issues of territory, economy, governance and warfare, gender, and conflicting claims to spiritual power.'


Research was supported by University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Publication subvention by University of New Mexico.

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Duke University Press


Latin America, frontiers, ethnohistory, environmental history, landscapes, regionality, colonialism, gender, Mexico, Bolivia