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From Araucanian warriors to Mapuche terrorists: contesting discourses of gender, race, and nation in modern Chile (1810–2010)

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Article of journalCrowa, Joanna. From Araucanian warriors to Mapuche terrorists: contesting discourses of gender, race, and nation in modern Chile (1810–2010).  / De los guerreros araucanos a los terroristas mapuche: contestando los discursos de género, raza y nación en la moderna Chile (1810-2010) Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies, 2014 vol. 20 no. 1 p. 75-101. Keywords:
Chile
Anthropology, Ethnology | History | Literature | Women's and Gender Studies
Mapuche / Género / Raza / Nación / Violencia / Poder
19th century | 20th century | 21st century

Abstract:

This article explores the complex, shifting intersections between gender, racial, and national identities in modern Chile. Focusing on the figure of the Araucanian warrior who famously defeated the Spanish conquistadors in the sixteenth century, it draws readers' attention to four transformative periods between the first declaration of Chilean independence and the bicentennial celebrations of that independence, and examines the contesting notions of masculinity that emerged in such contexts. Firstly, it analyses the late nineteenth-century liberal State's “civilising” discourse, which was imbued with imperial racist concepts of masculinity; secondly, a protest mestizo masculinity that emerged through the writings of Nicolás Palacios in the early twentieth century; thirdly, a revolutionary masculinity that was exalted by various actors during the Popular Unity government (1970–3); and finally, multicultural, neo-liberal configurations of masculinity in post-dictatorship Chile. It shows how the masculine ideals of physique (strength, impressive build, virility) and behaviour (independence, intelligence, bravery, spirit of adventure) projected onto the noble warrior of old have existed in tension with disparaging attitudes towards contemporary Mapuche demanding respect for their rights. It also underscores the multiple, creative ways in which Mapuche intellectuals and political leaders have engaged with dominant discourses of gender, race and nation in republican Chile.

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