Andean Lives: Gregorio Condori Mamani and Asunta Quispe Huaman
By: R. Fernandez
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Gregorio Condori Mamani and Asunta Quispe Huaman were runakuna, a Quechua word that means "people" and refers to the millions of indigenous inhabitants of the highlands of Peru and other Andean countries....Read more
Gregorio Condori Mamani and Asunta Quispe Huaman were runakuna, a Quechua word that means "people" and refers to the millions of indigenous inhabitants of the highlands of Peru and other Andean countries. Exploited and reviled by local power holders, neglected by the state, and silenced by dominant cultural discourses, the voices of this cultural majority are seldom heard in Peruvian or Latin American literature. For Gregorio and Asunta, however, that silence was broken when Peruvian anthropologists Ricardo Valderrama Fernandez and Carmen Escalante Gutierrez recorded their life stories. The resulting Spanish-Quechua narrative, published in the mid-1970s and since translated into many languages, has become a classic introduction to the lives and struggles of the "people" of the Andes. Andean Lives is the first English translation of this important book and includes a new introduction, annotations, and revised glossary. Working directly from the Quechua, Paul H. Gelles and Gabriela Martinez Escobar have produced an English version that will be easily accessible to general readers and students, while retaining the poetic intensity of the original Quechua. It brings to vivid life the words, worldview, and historical consciousness of Gregorio and Asunta, who impart their accounts with stoicism, humor, and anger. Their descriptions of life in rural villages, isolated mines, semifeudal haciendas, and the houses of their powerful misti masters in Cuzco are eloquent testimonies to the beauty and brutality of everyday life in the Andean highlands.
Andean Lives is a superb book, highly recommended for readers of all levels of expertise and interest in South America. . . . [It] will serve as a wonderful introduction on the undergraduate level...Read more
Andean Lives is a superb book, highly recommended for readers of all levels of expertise and interest in South America. . . . [It] will serve as a wonderful introduction on the undergraduate level to Andean history and culture, and could also be used in a general Latin American Studies course. The book is completely appropriate for advanced courses such as history or anthropology graduate seminars focused on the modern Andean region, as well as literature or culture classes concerned with problems of translation, cross-cultural relations, or oral history. The work is also entirely suitable for general readers. The smooth and open quality of the translation and its ability to draw the reader into the world and life experiences of the speakers deserves the highest accolades.
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