For the past five centuries, indigenous and African American communities throughout the Americas have sought to maintain and recreate enduring identities under conditions of radical change and discontinuity. The essays in this groundbreaking volume document this cultural activity—this ethnogenesis—within and against the broader contexts of domination; the authors simultaneously encompass the entanglements of local communities in the webs of national and global power relations as well as people's unique abilities to gain control over their history and identity.

By defining ethnogenesis as the synthesis of people's cultural and political struggles, History, Power, and Identity breaks out of the implicit contrast between isolated local cultures and dynamic global history. From the northeastern plains of North America to Amazonia, colonial and independent states in the Americas interacted with vast multilingual and multicultural networks, resulting in the historical emergence of new ethnic identities and the disappearance of many earlier ones. The importance of African, indigenous American, and European religions, myths, and symbols, as historical cornerstones in the building of new ethnic identities, emerges as one of the central themes of this convincing collection.

“This volume is at the cutting edge of cultural-historical studies and contributes to the development of theory and methodology. The authors are aware of and take full advantage of the most recent work on their topics, while at the same time not ignoring previous work in the area. The chapters are theoretically sophisticated but data-based.”—Kenneth M. Kensinger, Bennington College

Introduction: Ethnogenesis in the Americas, 1492-1992
Jonathan D. Hill

Ethnogenesis and Ethnocide in the European Occupation
of Native Surinam, 1499-1691
Neil Lancelot Whitehead

Remnants, Renegades, and Runaways: Seminole
Ethnogenesis Reconsidered
Richard A. Sattler

Ethnogenesis in the South Plains: Jumano to Kiowa?
Nancy P. Hickerson

Changing Patterns of Ethnicity in the Northeastern
Plains, 1780-1870
Patricia C. Albers

Ethnogenesis in the Guianas and Jamaica:
Two Maroon Cases
Kenneth Bilby

Ethnogenesis in the Northwest Amazon:
An Emerging Regional Picture
Jonathan D. Hill

Fighting in a Different Way: Indigenous Resistance
through the Alleluia Religion of Guyana
Susan K. Staats

Cimarrones, Theater, and the State
David M. Guss

The Ucuadorian Levantamiento Indigena of 1990
and the Epitomizing Symbol of 1992: Reflections
on Nationalism, Ethnic-Bloc Formation, and Racialist Ideologies
Norman E. Whitten, Jr.

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Publication Details

Publication Date
288 pages
3 photos, 10 maps, 5 figures