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Latin America Otherwise: Languages, Empires, Nations is a critical series. It
aims to explore the emergence and consequences of concepts used to define
"Latin America" while at the same time exploring the broad interplay of
political, economic, and cultural practices that have shaped Latin American
worlds. Latin America, at the crossroads of competing imperial designs and
local responses, has been construed as a geocultural and geopolitical entity
since the nineteenth century. This series provides a starting point to redefine
Latin America as a configuration of political, linguistic, cultural, and eco-
nomic intersections that demands a continuous reappraisal of the role of the
Americas in history, and of the ongoing process of globalization and the
relocation of people and cultures that have characterized Latin America's
experience. Latin America Otherwise: Languages, Empires, Nations is a forum
that confronts established geocultural constructions, that rethinks area stud-
ies and disciplinary boundaries, that assesses convictions of the academy
and of public policy, and that, correspondingly, demands that the practices
through which we produce knowledge and understanding about and from
Latin America be subject to rigorous and critical scrutiny.
Since the turn of the century, nationalist ideologies in Nicaragua have been
built on a powerful myth, one that claims that Nicaragua is a homogeneous
country, its citizens the product of "mestizaje" between the original inhabi-
tants and the Spaniards. In this telling, Nicaragua's native peoples no longer
exist and Nicaragua's advance into the modern world of capitalism and na-
tionhood depended on this disappearance.
To Die in This Way tears apart this myth. Rather than accepting a version of
the past shared by both scholars and popular culture, Jeffrey Gould points to
the complex, tangled history of relations between Nicaragua's native peo-
ples-themselves divided into distinct Communidades-and the nation's gov-
erning elite. Through often brilliant excavations into Nicaragua's cultural
history, Gould resurrects the category "Indian" as a hidden dimension of the
struggles to secure the hegemony of nationalist ideologies. These protracted
conflicts, Gould points out, were violent-rooted in the confiscation ofland,
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