Subverting Colonial Authority (Paperback)
Challenges to Spanish Rule in Eighteenth-Century Southern Andes
Duke University Press, 9780822331469, 287pp.
Publication Date: September 23, 2003
Drawing on court records, government papers, personal letters, census documents, and other testimonies from Bolivian and Argentine archives, Subverting Colonial Authority addresses issues that illuminate key aspects of indigenous rebellion, European colonialism, and Andean cultural history. Serulnikov analyzes long-term patterns of social conflict rooted in local political cultures and regionally based power relations. He examines the day-to-day operations of the colonial system of justice within the rural villages as well as the sharp ideological and political strife among colonial ruling groups. Highlighting the emergence of radical modes of anticolonial thought and ethnic cooperation, he argues that Andean peasants were able to overcome entrenched tendencies toward internal dissension and fragmentation in the very process of marshaling both law and force to assert their rights and hold colonial authorities accountable. Along the way, Serulnikov shows, they not only widened the scope of their collective identities but also contradicted colonial ideas of indigenous societies as either secluded cultures or pliant objects of European rule.