Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Santiago Juan-Navarro

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

María Asunción Gómez

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Andrea Fanta

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Astrid Arrarás

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


etnovaivén, ethno-sway, etnobúmeran, ethno-boomerang, blanqueamiento, whitening, cholificación, singularidad cultural, cultural singularity, identidad cultural, cultural identity, cultura chicha, chicha culture, estrategias de resistencia, subalterno, subaltern, Perú, Peru, peruano, Peruvian, Guerra Interna, Internal Conflict, estrategias de resistencia, resistance strategies, racismo, racism, discriminación, discrimination, modelo epistemológico, epistemological model

Date of Defense



In my dissertation, I explore social strategies that Peruvian subalterns have developed to survive against racism and discrimination. I have identified and coined one of these strategies as etnovaivén (ethno-sway), which I define as a pendulum-like approach that allows subalterns to swing/sway from blanqueamiento to cholificación, and vice versa. In this context, blanqueamiento (whitening) mainly refers to the subaltern's willingness and efforts to assimilate the white culture in order achieve upward social mobility, whereas cholificación depicts the reluctance of Indian and mestizo subalterns to assimilate the cultural norms of the dominant group in certain circumstances, while asserting their own ethnic identity. Conversely, etnobúmeran (ethno-boomerang) is a self-inflicted boycott to one’s own ethnic groups. I claim that Peruvian subalterns shape their cultural singularity between ethno-sway and ethno-boomerang.

My research has examined these social phenomena as reflected in the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega’s Comentarios reales (1609), Clorinda Matto de Turner’s Aves sin nido (1889), and Enrique López Albújar’s Matalaché (1928). In addition, in La ciudad y los perros (1963) by Mario Vargas Llosa, Montacerdos (1981) by Cronwell Jara, La violencia del tiempo (1991) by Miguel Gutiérrez, and Hienas en la niebla (2010) by Juan Morillo, I have analyzed the historical connection between miscegenation, discrimination, inequality and violence, which progressively led to the Internal Conflict (1980-2000), the goriest and longest war in Peru’s republican history that resulted in the assassination of approximately 70 000 persons, most of them Quechua-speaking, ordinary civilians. Highlanders fleeing from terrorism during those two decades account for the depopulation of over 2/3 of the Andean region.

This study is both relevant and pertinent because it intersects with contemporary debates about national identity formation, and because it provides a means to understand the aftermath of political violence, a phenomenon that periodically threatens the lives of Peruvians. My work contests the traditional thesis of racial and cultural miscegenation as the foundation of Peruvian national identity (the "melting pot" metaphor), which has proven to be ineffective. Instead, I propose a more inclusive identity concept that celebrates cultural diversity and accepts the coexistence of multiple ethnic and cultural groups within the confines of the nation.





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