Taken for Indians: “Native” Philology and Creole Culture Wars

Nadia R. Altschul

in Geographies of Philological Knowledge

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780226016214
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226016191 | DOI:
Taken for Indians: “Native” Philology and Creole Culture Wars

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This chapter reviews the foundation of the first “philological institute” in a Spanish American former colony, the Chilean Pedagogical Institute (Instituto Pedagógico), created by governmental decree very close in time to the spread of German philological standards across Europe and North America. It examines in particular the contemporary critique of Chile's educational and philological “colonization” by German-trained pedagogues in the writings of Valentín Letelier and Eduardo de la Barra, and highlights how, to criollos such as de la Barra, this neocolonial situation evidenced distressing associations between Chileans and Amerindians. In Spanish America, there is a long history of criollo appropriations of Amerindian identity, as well as of European colonialist equivalences between Amerindians, creoles, and even European-born settlers. The globalized discourse of medieval philology opened mimetic opportunities for peripheral locations to speak the languages needed to become participating members of privileged scholarly circles. The lack of discussion of neocolonization is, in fact, one of the main problems that Latin Americanists working in nineteenth century studies find in postcolonial criticism.

Keywords: philological modernity; medieval philology; neocolonization; neocolonization; Occidentalism

Chapter.  9162 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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