By Mary Weismantel
Cholas and Pishtacos are provocative characters from South American renowned culture—a sensual mixed-race girl and a scary white killerwho appear in every little thing from horror tales and soiled jokes to romantic novels and go back and forth posters. during this elegantly written e-book, those figures turn into autos for an exploration of race, intercourse, and violence that draws the reader into the bright landscapes and vigorous towns of the Andes. Weismantel's concept of race and intercourse starts off no longer with person id yet with 3 varieties of social and monetary interplay: estrangement, trade, and accumulation. She maps the obstacles that separate white and Indian, male and female-barriers that exist no longer with the intention to hinder trade, yet fairly to exacerbate its inequality.
Weismantel weaves jointly resources starting from her personal fieldwork and the phrases of potato dealers, inn maids, and travelers to vintage works by means of photographer Martin Chambi and novelist José María Arguedas. Cholas and Pishtacos can also be an stress-free and informative creation to a comparatively unknown quarter of the Americas.
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Additional info for Cholas and Pishtacos: Stories of Race and Sex in the Andes (Women in Culture and Society)
As the perspicacious Nicaraguan priest commented, the racial divide in Latin America is littered not only with words, but with thefts, wounds, and corpses. This is the terrain inhabited by the fiakaq; as Gose observed, pishtaco, too, can be just another synonym for white. But what about the chola? This term fractures the binary racial system described above. Cholas are, by definition, at once Indian and white: the very embodiment of the notion that Latin American racial categories overlap, or lack clear boundaries.
Gose records two, q'ala misti (naked misti) 40 and q'ala kuchi (naked pig) (I994b:22]. "'Misti,'" says Gose in his ethnography ofHuaquirca, "is one of the first words an anthropologist ... is likely to hear on entering a small town" in the Peruvian Andes (I994b:2I). As though that were not bad enough, in his article on the pishtaco he assures his readers that every foreigner in rural Peru will soon hear himself described not only as a pig, but as a pishtaco (Gose 1994a:297). The fact that even anthropologists (a group composed mostly of North Americans, Europeans, and metropolitan South Americans, many of whom are themselves the children of European immigrants) xxxviiil n fro d ucti on are described as mistis should dispel the last doubt as to the binary logic of race in the rural Andes.
Similarly, a younger woman from the same region, interviewed a few days later, remembered recognizing a stranger seen from a distance: "He was certainly a pishtaco: he had a knife, his face was bearded, foreign, with a wool cap, he was huge and he made me afraid" (1JI). One knows a pishtaco, then, because he is a stranger and he makes one afraid. Most scholars writing about the fiakaq have associated this strangeness with racial whiteness. "In the vast majority of the tales" told in Ancash, Peru, wrote anthropologist Anthony Oliver-Smith in 1969, "the pishtaco is a white or mestizo male" (363).