The research on which this book is based was conducted during the summers
of 1995–2002 in the cities of Popayán and Bogotá and in various rural commu-
nities in Cauca, Colombia. It began in 1995, when David Gow and I were asked
by the Instituto Colombiano de Antropología to conduct an exploratory study
of the Nasa of Tierradentro, who had been displaced in 1994 by a massive series
of earthquakes and avalanches and resettled in distant territories. From 1996 to
1997 we were supported by a grant from Colciencias, the Colombian scientific
research agency, to the Instituto Colombiano de Antropología for a team
project on new social movements in which David and I participated; I thank
María Victoria Uribe, director of ican, Claudia Steiner, then director of social
anthropology in ican, and María Lucía Sotomayor, coordinator of the re-
search team, for the opportunity to participate in the project. In 1998, 1999,
and 2001 I received summer research support from the Graduate School of
Georgetown University, for which I am grateful. In 1999, I was awarded,
together with Myriam Amparo Espinosa, David Gow, Adonías Perdomo, and
Susana Piñacué, an International Collaborative Grant from the Wenner-Gren
Foundation for Anthropological Research, which provided a critical arena for
discussion of the issues brought up here; the grant was renewed in 2001 with
the participation of Tulio Rojas Curieux in place of Myriam Amparo Espinosa,
who was involved in other projects. The National Humanities Center, through
a fellowship funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, provided
me in 2002–2003 with a stimulating environment in which to write this book.
I am particularly grateful to the fellows with whom I had the privilege to
interact and exchange ideas and to the nhc administration, librarians, copy
editors, and computer specialists who keep this wonderful place running. I am
particularly beholden to Kent Mullikin, director of the fellowship program, to
Eliza Robertson, director of the library, and to Joel Elliott, the resident com-
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