Chapter

Seven Literacy, Orality, and Ritual Practice In Highland Colombia

Jonathan Boyarin

in The Ethnography of Reading

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 1993 | ISBN: 9780520079557
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520913431 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520079557.003.0007
Seven Literacy, Orality, and Ritual Practice In Highland Colombia

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In the native highland community of Cumbal, Colombia, leaders of the ethnic-rights movement use oral and written evidence in their construction of a communal history that is incorporated into their political demands and rhetoric. The nature of the themes that they draw upon from the documentary record is determined in great part by their historical relationship with the Colombian state, especially as that relationship is filtered through Indian legislation. Nevertheless, the leaders' selection of specific pieces of evidence from the written record is governed by nontextual criteria, in particular, by ritual and practical activities in the present. This chapter explores the relationship between the oral and the written worlds in Cumbal as they are mediated by nontextual forms of understanding and changing reality.

Keywords: Colombia; ethnic-rights movement; Indian legislation; ritual activities; Cumbal

Chapter.  7358 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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