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3049 - Categorizaciones sociales en el Estado tarasco antes y después de la Conquista

The majority of the investigations about ethnicity focus on ethnic group nowadays, but the topic of ethnicity gets especially interesting when analyzing ancient societies. The question if ethnicity was a relevant categorization and if ethnic groups existed in prehispanic Latin America, especially Mesoamerica, has been answered differently by scientists in the recent debates. Some, like Gabbert (2004, 2006) think ethnicity didn’t exist, others (Sandstrom and Berdan 2008) are of the opinion it existed, but wasn’t important. The proposed paper aims to focus at the situation in the prehispanic Tarascan State in West Mexico. In contrast to authors like Perlstein Pollard (e.g. 2003), I will argue that the role of ethnicity as a social categorization was much less important than other types of belonging or multiple identities like belonging through kinship or lineage, belonging to the ward or social groups, the village or to political units like the Tarascan State. In the translation of the Tarascan term for ‘nation’ (masiruqua cuiripuecha, ‘lineage of peoples’), it is observable that possibly in the Tarascan State the belonging to a lineage was especially important. Also central political characters played an important role as identification focus. 

The proposed paper is based on a chapter of my Phd thesis which had an interdisciplinary approach, combining the analysis of 16th century sources, archaeological and linguistic data. It aims at reconstructing the prehispanic situation but also takes a look at the first decades after the Spanish Conquest when important transformations in social categorizations took place.

Keywords: Ethnicity, Tarascans, West Mexico, Prehispanic, Colonial

Author: Albiez, Sarah (Kompetenznetz Lateinamerika, Universität zu Köln, Germany / Deutschland)

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