REIMAGINING THE GRAN CHACO, ed. by S. Hirsch, P. Canova & M. Biocca (2021)

Reimagining the Gran ChacoReimagining the Gran Chaco

Identities, Politics, and the Environment in South America

Edited by Silva Hirsch, Paula Canova & Mercedes Bicoca

University Press of Florida, 2021

Reimagining the Gran Chaco traces the socioeconomic and environmental changes taking place in the Gran Chaco, a vast and richly biodiverse ecoregion at the intersection of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay. Representing a wide range of contemporary anthropological scholarship that has not been available in English until now, Reimagining the Gran Chaco illuminates how the region’s many Indigenous groups are negotiating these transformations in their own terms.             

The essays in this volume explore how the region has become a complex arena of political, cultural, and economic contestation between actors that include the state, environmental groups and NGOs, and private businesses and how local actors are reconfiguring their subjectivities and political agency in response. With its multinational perspective, and its examination of major themes including missionization, millenarian movements, the Chaco war, industrial enclaves, extractivism, political mobilization, and the struggle for rights, this volume brings greater visibility to an underrepresented, complex region.


“This book is the first of its kind and fills a very important gap in the anthropology and ethnohistory of the Gran Chaco, especially of the last thirty years. The editors have assembled an outstanding collection of articles by the top and well-recognized anthropologists working on the Gran Chaco.”—René Harder Horst, author of A History of Indigenous Latin America: Aymara to Zapatistas

“A much-needed collection of ethnographies written by experienced field workers, useful for understanding what is happening right now with Indigenous peoples in the region. This book presents little-known facts from the viewpoint of localized researchers, unveiling the effects of ethnicity, culture, Christian conversion, national identity, exploitation, and dispossession.”—Marcela Mendoza, author of Juegos de combate entre varones de grupos etnográficos cazadores-recolectores

About the Editors

Silvia Hirsch is professor and codirector of the Center for the Study of Anthropology at Escuela Interdisciplinaria de Altos Estudios Sociales, Universidad Nacional de San Martín in Argentina. Hirsch is the author of El pueblo Tapiete de Argentina: historia y cultura.

Paola Canova, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin, is the author of Frontier Intimacies: Ayoreo Women and the Sexual Economy of the Paraguayan Chaco.

Mercedes Biocca is researcher at Escuela Interdisciplinaria de Altos Estudios Sociales, Universidad Nacional de San Martín in Argentina.

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