New Languages of the State: Indigenous Resurgence and the Politics of Knowledge in Bolivia (Narrating Native Histories)

Gustafson, Bret

Published by Duke University Press Books, 2009
ISBN 10: 0822345293 / ISBN 13: 9780822345299
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Synopsis: During the mid-1990s, a bilingual intercultural education initiative was launched to promote the introduction of indigenous languages alongside Spanish in public elementary schools in Bolivia’s indigenous regions. Bret Gustafson spent fourteen years studying and working in southeastern Bolivia with the Guarani, who were at the vanguard of the movement for bilingual education. Drawing on his collaborative work with indigenous organizations and bilingual-education activists as well as more traditional ethnographic research, Gustafson traces two decades of indigenous resurgence and education politics in Bolivia, from the 1980s through the election of Evo Morales in 2005. Bilingual education was a component of education reform linked to foreign-aid development mandates, and foreign aid workers figure in New Languages of the State, as do teachers and their unions, transnational intellectual networks, and assertive indigenous political and intellectual movements across the Andes.

Gustafson shows that bilingual education is an issue that extends far beyond the classroom. Public schools are at the center of a broader battle over territory, power, and knowledge as indigenous movements across Latin America actively defend their languages and knowledge systems. In attempting to decolonize nation-states, the indigenous movements are challenging deep-rooted colonial racism and neoliberal reforms intended to mold public education to serve the market. Meanwhile, market reformers nominally embrace cultural pluralism while implementing political and economic policies that exacerbate inequality. Juxtaposing Guarani life, language, and activism with intimate portraits of reform politics among academics, bureaucrats, and others in and beyond La Paz, Gustafson illuminates the issues, strategic dilemmas, and imperfect alliances behind bilingual intercultural education.

From the Publisher: "A beautifully crafted, magnificently expansive, and inspiring work of engaged historical ethnography! Bret Gustafson traces Bolivia's heralded experiment in bilingual education by planting it deep in the subsoil of Guarani culture and politics and by projecting it against the larger canvas of neoliberal reformism in the 1990s. In plotting the choreography of state, NGO, and grassroots struggles over indigenous knowledge and schooling, Gustafson opens up new horizons on Bolivia's vibrant Guarani movement and its radicalizing agendas in the early 2000s. This is, quite simply, the work of a seasoned anthropologist and gifted writer."--Brooke Larson, author of Trials of Nation Making: Liberalism, Race, and Ethnicity in the Andes, 1810-1910

"Much anticipated by anthropologists of Latin America, New Languages of the State is an entirely new contribution to the ethnography of the Andes, and it speaks to much broader issues about development banks, globalization, indigenous movements, and more. Bret Gustafson makes sense of transnational processes, bureaucratic logics, and ideological formations by moving between diverse locales in Bolivia, from the most remote locations in Chaco, to the upscale professional offices of La Paz, and then on to international meetings in Thailand and the United States."--Julia Paley, author of Marketing Democracy: Power and Social Movements in Post-Dictatorship Chile

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Title: New Languages of the State: Indigenous ...
Publisher: Duke University Press Books
Publication Date: 2009
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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Book Description Duke University Press. Hardback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, New Languages of the State: Indigenous Resurgence and the Politics of Knowledge in Bolivia, Bret Darin Gustafson, During the mid-1990s, a bilingual intercultural education initiative was launched to promote the introduction of indigenous languages alongside Spanish in public elementary schools in Bolivia's indigenous regions. Bret Gustafson spent fourteen years studying and working in south-eastern Bolivia with the Guarani, who were at the vanguard of the movement for bilingual education. Drawing on his collaborative work with indigenous organizations and bilingual-education activists as well as more traditional ethnographic research, Gustafson traces two decades of indigenous resurgence and education politics in Bolivia, from the 1980s and through the election of Evo Morales in 2005. Bilingual education was a component of education reform linked to foreign-aid development mandates, and foreign aid workers figure in "New Languages of the State", as do teachers and their unions, transnational intellectual networks, and assertive indigenous political and intellectual movements across the Andes. Gustafson shows that bilingual education is about more than what goes on in classrooms. Public schools are at the centre of a broader battle over territory, power, and knowledge as indigenous movements across Latin America actively defend their languages and knowledge systems. In attempting to decolonize nation-states, the indigenous movements are challenging deep-rooted colonial racism and neoliberal reforms intended to mould public education to serve the market. Meanwhile, market reformers nominally embrace cultural pluralism while implementing political and economic policies that exacerbate inequality. Juxtaposing Guarani life, language, and activism with intimate portraits of reform politics among academics, bureaucrats, and others in and beyond La Paz, Gustafson illuminates the issues, strategic dilemmas, and imperfect alliances behind bilingual intercultural education. Bookseller Inventory # B9780822345299

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