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Whitening the Region Colombia

Whitening the Region Colombia

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Published by: Robert Yves Figueroa on May 08, 2011
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Whitening the Region: Caucano Mediation and "Antioqueno Colonization" in Nineteenth-Century ColombiaAuthor(s): Nancy AppelbaumSource:
The Hispanic American Historical Review,
Vol. 79, No. 4 (Nov., 1999), pp. 631-667Published by: Duke University PressStable URL:
Accessed: 19/11/2009 03:39
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Whitening the Region: CaucanoMediation and"AntioquefioColonization"inNineteenth-Century Colombia
Nancy AppelbaumScholarsofLatin Americahavebeguntointerrogatethespatialdynamicsofrace within nations. We are startingtoexamine the regional dimensions ofracial dentity and the racialdimensionsofregionalism.Thisarticletracesthenineteenth-centuryhistory of the Colombian coffee region,which isfamous
This article is based on research carried out from
I993
to
I995
with fundingprovidedmainly by the Social Science Research Council and the American Councilof LearnedSocieties Joint Committee on Latin Americaandthe Caribbean.IthankPatrick McNamara,Jared Orsi, Jean Quataert, andthe HAHR editorsand readersforhelpfulsuggestions. Myideas and evidence are further elaborated in my
I997
doctoral thesis fromthe University ofWisconsin, Madison: "Remembering Riosucio: Race, Region, and Communityin Colombia,
I850-I95'."
The maps were prepared by Onno Brouwer and the staff ofthe CartographyLab of the University of Wisconsin.
i.
On Brazil, Peru, and Mexico, for example, see BarbaraWeinstein, "Region overNation: Race and Regional Identityinthe
I932
SdoPaulo Revolution" (paperpresented atthe annualmeetingof the American HistoricalAssociation, Washington,D.C.,ioJan.
i999);
Judy Bieber, "Race, Resistance, and Regionalism: Perspectives fromBrazil andSpanishAmerica,"Latin AmericanResearchReview
32,
no.
3 (997): I54,
i67-68;
BenjaminOrlove, "PuttingRaceinIts Place: OrderinColonial andPostcolonial PeruvianGeography,"SocialResearcho,no.
2(1993);
SarahChambers,FromSubjectsoCitizens:Honor,Gender,ndPoliticsnArequipa,Peru,
1780-
I
854
(UniversityPark: PennsylvaniaState Univ. Press, forthcoming);Marisol de laCadena,"FromRacetoClass: InsurgentIntellectualsdeprovincianPeru,
I9I0-I970,"
inShiningand Other Paths: WarandSocietynPeru,
i980-I995,
ed. Steve
J.
Stern(Durham:DukeUniversity Press,
i998);
and Steve
J.
Stern,The SecretHistory ofGender:Women,Men,and Power n Late ColonialMexico(Chapel
Hill:Univ.of North CarolinaPress,
995),
esp.
2I7-27.
For otherapproachesoregion,
seeClaudio Lomnitz-Adler, ExitsfromtheLabyrinth: CultureandIdeologyn the MexicanNational Space Berkeley:Univ. of CaliforniaPress,
I992);
andEricVanYoung, ed.,Mexico'sRegions:ComparativeHistoiy andDevelopment San Diego:Center for U.S.-MexicoStudies, Univ.ofCalifornia atSanDiego,
I992).
HispanicAmerican HistoricalReview 79:4Copyright
i999
by Duke UniversityPress
 
632 HAHR / November / Appelbaum
forthewhiteness and industriousness ofitsinhabitants, fromthevantage pointof Riosucio,adistrictin whichalmost halfof thepopulationidentified itself inthe 1993 census asindigenous.Iconsider regional identity,likerace,to be asocial construct thathasresulted fromspecifichistoricalprocesses.The his- tory of Riosucio and the coffee region of which it forms a part illustrates someof thewaysinwhichnineteenth-centuryColombiansorganizedracial hierar-chyintheir nationalspace. They createdaninterregional geographyof race and status thatprivilegedcertainplacesandpeopleswithin the nationaswhite,modern, and progressivewhiledenigratingothersas backwardand inferior. As anthropologistPeter Wade hasobserved,inColombia"regionhasbecome apowerful languageof culturalandracial differentiationsDuring the nineteenth century, inhabitants of the stateofAntioquiain northwestern Colombia migrated into neighboring states,mostnotably thestateofCauca.3 Theysettled an areathatbecame known as"greaterAntio-quia" (Antioquialagrande). Scholarlyliterature andpopular nostalgiahave cre-atedra"rosy legend" (leyenda rosa)ofAntioqueno migrationthat hasidealizedtheAntioquefio migrantsasthe"self-styledYankees of South America"4-intrepid white pioneerswhocivilized a wildfrontier andintegratedColombiaintotheinternationalmarketeconomy throughthe cultivation andmarketingof coffee.Inrecent decades,arevisionistand more critical literature haspaintedthecolonizacion ntioquefianmoresombercolors, emphasizingconflictandexploitation.5Both thelightand darklegendsofnineteenth-century
2.
Peter Wade, BlacknessndRaceMixture:TheDynamicsof RacialIdentityn Colombia(Baltimore:Johns HopkinsUniv. Press,
I993),43.
My understandingof the spatialorganization of racial hierarchyinwestern Colombiais influenced by the innovativeframeworks provided by Wadeand by historian MaryRoldan. Wade juxtaposesthe white/mestizo Andeancore witha peripheryconstituted by lowland Indian and blackregions to argue that coastalblacks have constitutedtheprincipalOther against which the non-black majority of whitesand mestizos of the highlandinterior, especially Antioquia,have measured their superiority.His highly useful modeldoes not, however, fully accountfor racial and ethnic differentiation among inhabitantsof the Andeaninterior. Roldn'sstudyofMedellin's historic relationshipwith frontier areasofAntioquiashowshow geographic, cultural,and racial core-periphery dynamicsaffected twentieth-centurypoliticalviolence. See Roldan, "Violencia, colonizaci6n yla geografiadela diferenciaculturalenColombia,"AndlisisPolitico38
(i998),
and "Genesis andEvolution of La
ViolencianAntioquia,Colombia
I900-I953)"
(Ph.D.diss.,HarvardUniv.,
992).
3.
Colombia was dividedinto states from I857 to i886.The i886 Constitutionchangedthe states into administrative departments.
4.
James J. Parsons,Antioquenio olonizationn WesternColombia,ev.ed.(Berkeley:Univ.ofCaliforniaPress,
i968),
i.
5.
Someofthe bestrevisionist works include KeithH.Christie, Oligarcas, ampesinosypoliticalnColombia:spectose la historicsocio-politicaelafironterantioquefia,rans.Fernan

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