Synopses & Reviews
This innovative political history provides a new perspective on the enduring question of the origins and nature of the Indian revolts against the Spanish that exploded in the southern Andean highlands in the 1780s. Subverting Colonial Authority
focuses on one of the mainandmdash;but least studiedandmdash;centers of rebel activity during the age of the Tanduacute;pac Amaru revolution: the overwhelmingly indigenous Northern Potosandiacute; region of present-day Bolivia. Tracing how routine political conflict developed into large-scale violent upheaval, Sergio Serulnikov explores the changing forms of colonial domination and peasant politics in the area from the 1740s (the starting point of large political and economic transformations) through the early 1780s, when a massive insurrection of the highland communities shook the foundations of Spanish rule.
Drawing on court records, government papers, personal letters, census documents, and other testimonies from Bolivian and Argentine archives, Subverting Colonial Authority addresses issues that illuminate key aspects of indigenous rebellion, European colonialism, and Andean cultural history. Serulnikov analyzes long-term patterns of social conflict rooted in local political cultures and regionally based power relations. He examines the day-to-day operations of the colonial system of justice within the rural villages as well as the sharp ideological and political strife among colonial ruling groups. Highlighting the emergence of radical modes of anticolonial thought and ethnic cooperation, he argues that Andean peasants were able to overcome entrenched tendencies toward internal dissension and fragmentation in the very process of marshaling both law and force to assert their rights and hold colonial authorities accountable. Along the way, Serulnikov shows, they not only widened the scope of their collective identities but also contradicted colonial ideas of indigenous societies as either secluded cultures or pliant objects of European rule.
andquot;Sergio Serulnikov analyzes the root causes, key moments, and bloody consequences of the massive indigenous revolt that nearly toppled Spanish rule in the southern Andes in the early 1780s. Exhaustively researched and cogently argued, this is a major work on the connection between everyday resistance to colonialism and revolutionary upheaval to end it forever. Essential reading for students and scholars of colonial rule everywhere.andquot;andmdash;John H. Coatsworth, Harvard University
andldquo;Subverting Colonial Authority is a major contribution to the ongoing revision of the history of colonial Latin America and of the development of the modern world in general. It should be read by scholars not only of Latin America but also of world and even European history.andrdquo;andmdash;Karen Spalding, author of Huarochirandiacute;: An Andean Society under Inca and Spanish Rule
Includes bibliographical references (p. -276) and index.
Latin American colonial history, looking at Spanish-indigenous relations.
About the Author
Sergio Serulnikov is Assistant Professor of History at Boston College.