The Creole Invention of Peru: Ethnic Nation and Epic Poetry in Colonial Lima

by José Antonio Mazzotti


This book is in the Cambria Latin American Literatures and Cultures Series headed by Román de la Campa, the Edwin B. and Lenore R. Williams Professor of Romance Languages at the University of Pennsylvania.

The Creole Invention of Peru deals with a specific social formation, the criollos or Creoles, particularly the beneméritos or descendants of conquistadors, whose study has almost always framed them as belonging to a colonial past that was supposedly erased and surpassed during the Republic.

This study demonstrates that the Creoles who emerged from this situation developed strategies of survival and negotiation and many mental habits that are still present in Peru today. The first generations of Creoles created an ethnic identity that can be understood as “national” only in the archaic and pre-Enlightenment sense of the word, without necessarily looking for independence from Spain, but with local patriotic aspirations.

Thus, although this study speaks mostly about the past, it aims to explain the present and the flaws of a supposedly democratic, modern national state, still obedient to the interests of internal colonialism and the traditional Europoid ethnic prevalence in Peru. Among other merits, this book contributes to decolonial theory through the historical and cultural analysis of a dominant group.


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