In recent years, Peru appears to have bucked the regional trend
toward the ethnicization of politics, a process that has been
most visible in neighboring Andean countries. The ‘‘ethnic
awakening’’ in Bolivia or Ecuador, a new beginning, some argue,
for the historically marginalized, has no parallels in Peru. Yet,
the absence of strong indigenous movements in Peru is puz-
zling.∞ Race and racism structure Peruvian history and society
profoundly, as Peru’s recent ‘‘time of fear’’ illustrated tragically.
Shining Path was not an indigenous movement, and the war
that it initiated was not a ‘‘race war.’’ But the war reflected,
reproduced, and indeed, deepened, Peru’s racial cleavages. As
Peru’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (trc) concluded,
the war, which produced some seventy thousand victims, ‘‘re-
produced in large measure the ethnic and social rifts that affect
the whole of Peruvian society.’’≤ The war magnified what Peru-
vians experience on an everyday basis: the ways in which race
and racism order Peruvian society and naturalize that ordering.
However, scholars have begun only recently to examine seri-
ously the role that race and racism play in structuring Peruvian
society. This book is a contribution to this effort and to broader
considerations of race, labor, and the state. I have sought to
suggest new ways of thinking about the relationship between
race and nation-state formation through an examination of the
formation of the Peruvian state from the perspective of labor
policy. My principal aim has been to show that the study of labor
Previous Page Next Page