A Window on Indigenous Life
Intimate Indigeneities: Race, Sex and History in the Small Space of Andean Life (Book Review)

Ari-Chachaki, Waskar T.
Date Written:  2015-07-01
Publisher:  Against the Current
Year Published:  2015
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX21235

Book Review of Andrew Canessa's Intimate Indigeneities: Race, Sex and History in the Small Space of Andean Life.



While Canessa accurately describes patriarchalism and domestic violence in Bolivian society, he entirely ignores the extraordinary progress that women have achieved toward regulating or erasing male domination under Morales's government. One example is that at least 50% of the members of the Bolivian parliament are women today, and the same is the case in regional legislative bodies.

Intimate Indigeneities not only provides a unique view of indigenous intimate experience in the Andes and in the Americas, but also shows how racialization works today in Bolivia and Latin America. Since Khitipxtansa, written by Xavier Albo in 1976, I have not seen a book as rich and profound as Canessa's regarding the question of what it means to be indigenous.

Canessa, of course, is writing in a different context about a country that recently reelected an indigenous president. Although the author does not address other complexities of sexuality such as gay life in an indigenous context, this book has tremendous value for a general reader because it explains modern Bolivia through the making of the "intimate citizen," the individual in a concrete case study, but also in a network of complex relations of power.

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