Revisiting Indigenismo and Folklore
This book aims to share some stories that illustrate the complexity and
significance of a field of creative activity that began to be called folklore
in Peru and other parts of Latin America in the early twentieth century.
Through a detailed study of the so-called folkloric arts (music, dance, and
drama in particular), I try to show the leading role these expressive prac-
tices had in the development of ethnic/racial identities (a term to be ex-
plained below), of regional identity, and in the proposals for a national and
continental identity (typically called American and sometimes Hispano-
American) that cuzqueños (the people of Cuzco) developed throughout the
twentieth century. This study focuses on the first half of the century because
it was during this period that the most significant canons coalesced, canons
that would influence artistic output throughout the twentieth century and
the early twenty-first. These canons took shape in spaces sponsored by
members of the so-called instituciones culturales, or cultural institutions
(mostly private institutions with the occasional support of the state). These
institutions were based in the city of Cuzco (also spelled variously Qosqo,
Ccoscco, Kosko or Cusco) and were devoted to the establishment of spaces
where folklore could be developed.∞ My study focuses on these institutions
and the spaces where the criteria with which ‘‘Indian folklore’’ was distin-
guished from ‘‘mestizo folklore’’ and where the cholo, cuzqueñista (a concept
to be explained below), Peruvianist, and Americanist feelings of the time
Although in previous scholarly works I underlined the importance of the
study of the institutional aspects of folklore (Mendoza 1998, 2000, 2001), the
reading public I had in mind as my new research and the corresponding text
took shape was above all that of cuzqueño artists and intellectuals, as well as
Peruvians in general. It was because of this, to a great extent, that the book
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