Creating Our Own

Folklore, Performance, and Identity in Cuzco, Peru

Creating Our Own

Book Pages: 256 Illustrations: 16 b&w photos Published: January 2008

Anthropology > Cultural Anthropology, Latin American Studies > Andes, Music > Ethnomusicology

In Creating Our Own, anthropologist Zoila S. Mendoza explores the early-twentieth-century development of the “folkloric arts”—particularly music, dance, and drama—in Cuzco, Peru, revealing the central role that these expressive practices played in shaping ethnic and regional identities. Mendoza argues that the folkloric productions emerging in Cuzco in the early twentieth century were integral to, rather than only a reflection of, the social and political processes underlying the development of the indigenismo movement. By demonstrating how Cuzco’s folklore emerged from complex interactions between artists and intellectuals of different social classes, she challenges the idea that indigenismo was a project of the elites.

Mendoza draws on early-twentieth-century newspapers and other archival documents as well as interviews with key artistic and intellectual figures and their descendants. She offers vivid descriptions of the Peruvian Mission of Incaic Art, a tour undertaken by a group of artists from Cuzco, at their own expense, to represent Peru to Bolivia, Argentina, and Uruguay in 1923–24, as well as of the origins in the 1920s of the Qosqo Center of Native Art, the first cultural institution dedicated to regional and national folkloric art. She highlights other landmarks, including both The Charango Hour, a radio show that contributed to the broad acceptance of rural Andean music from its debut in 1937, and the rise in that same year of another major cultural institution, the American Art Institute of Cuzco. Throughout, she emphasizes the intricate local, regional, national, and international pressures that combined to produce folkloric art, especially the growing importance of national and international tourism in Cuzco.

Please visit the Web site for samples of the images and music discussed in this book.


Creating Our Own provides a full and complete study of the process of cultural fusion.” — N. Ross Crumrine, World of Music

Creating Our Own lucidly reproduces the tensions, difficulties, and paradoxes of postcolonial identity-formation at the regional and national levels. Not only is Mendoza successful in showing how the artistic-folkloric productions of Cuzco were integral to the formation of both cuzqueño and Peruvian identities, but she also succeeds in humanizing and individualizing what are often seen as largely social and national processes. . . . Creating Our Own is a suitable resource for graduate students and scholars of anthropology, history, and musicology. Mendoza organizes her materials logically, elegantly, and clearly.” — Adam M. Pacton, Anthropology Review Database

Creating Our Own offers a detailed accounting of how folklore enters into processes of identity formation and projection in one exemplary setting, Cuzco, Peru, during the first half of the twentieth century. . . . Folklorists will find in this book a pliable and productive formulation of the domain of folklore.” — John H. McDowell, Journal of Folklore Research

Creating Our Own provides much useful data for the study of folkloric canon formation.” — Sydney Hutchinson, Dance Research Journal

“[F]ascinating, well-written. . . . Mendoza illuminates a rich time of cultural production that continues to have an ongoing influence on hemispheric and even global indigenous identity formation. Recommended.” — K.S. Fine-Dare, Choice

“[T]his book is a valuable contribution to the understanding of Peruvian cultural history in the past century, arising from an admirable methodological meeting between anthropology and musicology. Creating Our Own not only brings new ideas and knowledge, but the reader can enjoy the musical works studied here by purchasing recordings listed in the discography.” — Víctor Peralta Ruiz, Hispanic American Historical Review

“Revivals of local musical traditions are sometimes described as the creations of relatively wealthy groups and government policymakers. Zoila S. Mendoza’s fascinating analysis of the roles of local actors in shaping folklore movements in Peru is highly relevant for studies in the rest of Latin America, the United States, and elsewhere.” — Anthony Seeger, author of Why Suyá Sing: A Musical Anthropology of an Amazonian People

“This innovative, impassioned book explores music and dance in the heartland of the Andes. Zoila S. Mendoza conveys the power and beauty of Cuzco’s Andean culture, and yet, like some nimble village pan-pipe player, shows the complexities, contradictions, and struggle over that elusive, marketable commodity we call ‘folklore.’ Her remarkable study allows us to see the Andes and the matter of tradition and heritage in new ways.” — Orin Starn, coeditor of The Peru Reader: History, Culture, Politics


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Zoila S. Mendoza is Professor of Native American Studies at the University of California, Davis. She is the author of Shaping Society through Dance: Mestizo Ritual Performance in the Peruvian Andes.

Table of Contents Back to Top
List of Illustrations ix

Preface to the English Edition xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction: Revisiting Indigenismo and Folklore 1

1. The Misión Peruana de Arte Incaico and the Development of Artistic-Folkloric Production in Cuzco 17

2. The Rise of Cultural Institutions and Contests 35

3. Touristic Cuzco, Its Monuments, and Its Folkore 65

4. La Hora del Charango: The Cholo Feeling, Cuzqueñoness, and Peruvianness 93

5. Creative Effervescence and the Consolidation of Spaces for "Folklore" 125

Epilogue: Who Will Represent What Is Our Own? Some Paradoxes of Andean Folklore Both Inside and Outside Peru 169

Notes 183

Discography 219

Bibliography 221

Index 229
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-4152-9 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-4130-7
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