Ecuador has a very diverse geographical landscape: Pacific coast, Andean highland, Amazonian rain forest, and Galapagos archipelago. The country equally expresses a great level of cultural and social diversity. In this manner, Ecuador reflects an enormous depth and richness when it comes to cultural production, which is expressed in the multiple racial and ethnic communities produced by the European colonization of the native indigenous population, and the more recent global migrations (particularly from Asian and Middle Eastern countries) and North American neo-colonial control of the territory. These varied cultural and historical realities only emphasize the rich traditions expressed in the different arts, such as literature, painting, and music, but also in the ever-changing production of popular culture. Most recently it has been the indigenous struggle that, since its paradigmatic 1990 uprising, has captured the national, and international scholarly imagination. Ultimately, the indigenous social movement and transnational migration best capture the dynamic political and socioeconomic landscape of the country, and its ever-present struggle, under incredible neo-colonial duress, to become a viable democratic nation with greater access to resources and human dignity for all its citizens.
The following works provide a broad introduction to the different dynamics of the Ecuadoran nation-state. Primary among them is the study of the country’s political structure by the former President Hurtado, Hurtado 1981. Another good place to start is the edited volume de la Torre and Striffler 2009, which offers a wide range of articles and analyses on the country. In a similar vein, Weismantel 2001 engages with the specific racial and sexual discourses that affect Ecuador within the greater Andean region, while Muratorio 1991 explores similar themes in the Amazon. The country’s racial dynamics are also similarly engaged by de la Torre Espinosa 1996, offering an introduction to the manner in which racial discourses play out within the greater national landscape. In terms of a historical understanding Benavides 2004 offers a historiographical critique that engages with the major historical contributions, as well as the role that the past plays in the present production of the nation. In this manner, the fictionalized account Benitez Vinueza 1945 of Orellana’s initial voyage into what today is the Amazon offers an intimate understanding of the violent and painful colonial encounter. Finally, Guerrero 1991 is a discursive analysis of colonial domination that provides a good synthesis of the manner in which history and politics are pervasively embedded in today’s daily reality.
Benavides, O. Hugo. Making Ecuadorian Histories: Four Centuries of Defining Power. Austin: Texas University Press, 2004.
The text is an original attempt in understanding the politics of Ecuadoran historiography. It doubly strives to provide a very local understanding of Ecuadoran history-making that has fueled the national imagination, while assessing the manner in which these regional forms of historical productions relate to greater issues of globalization and cultural representation.
Benitez Vinueza, Leopoldo. Los argonautas de la selva. Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1945.
The book is a fictionalized account of Francisco de Orellana’s expedition through what would after him be known as the Amazon River. The text goes a long way in acknowledging the incredible historical feat that exploring the region signified, while still maintaining the tension of empire, colonialism, and decimation that this mission would represent.
de la Torre Espinosa, Carlos. El racismo en Ecuador: Experiencias de los indios de clase media. Quito, Ecuador: Centro Andino de Acción Popular, 1996.
The element of race is a vital construct of the national Ecuadoran imaginary. The book explores the contradictory manner in which notions of race are complicated by status and class in different national communities’ daily livelihoods.
de la Torre, Carlos, and Steve Striffler. The Ecuador Reader: History, Culture, Politics. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009.
Spanning the years before the arrival of the Spanish in the early 1500s to the present, this rich anthology addresses colonialism, independence, the nation’s integration into the world economy, and its tumultuous 20th century. The collection is quite ambitious in its scope and, not surprisingly, suffers from the limitation of trying to do the impossible task of synthesizing Ecuador in one book.
Guerrero, Andres. La semántica de la dominación: El concertaje de indios. Quito, Ecuador: Ediciones Libri Mundi y Enrique Grosse-Luemern, 1991.
A very sophisticated analysis of the discursive elements inherent in the colonial domination of the indigenous communities during early republican times. The main contribution of the text is the manner in which the author goes beyond the empirical evidence to understand the larger, centuries-old hidden social scriptures that still fuel the regional logic of race.
Hurtado, Osvaldo. El poder político en el Ecuador. Barcelona: Editorial Planeta Ariel, 1981.
An insightful look at the political structure of the Ecuadoran nation. The analysis offers a nuanced political science perspective on the differing social legacies that have affected the production of the political structure, including political parties, in the country.
Muratorio, Blanca. The Life and Times of Grandfather Alonso: Culture and History in the Upper Amazon. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1991.
Alonso’s story covers about a century because he incorporates his ancestors’ oral tradition along with his own. Through his life story we learn how the Quichua resisted attacks against their social identity, their ethnic dignity, and their symbolic systems.
Weismantel, Mary. Cholas and Pishtacos: Stories of Race and Sex in the Andes. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2001.
Although not exclusively about Ecuador, the text provides an insightful and unique comparative perspective on the varying politics of race and sexuality in the central Andes. The author has a unique anthropological and historical knowledge of the region that allows us to appreciate Ecuador, and the other Andean nations, as part of a larger regional, and global, social formation.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
- Agricultural Technologies
- Ancient Andean Textiles
- Andean Contributions to Rethinking the State and the Natio...
- Antislavery Narratives
- Arab Diaspora in Latin America, The
- Argentina in the Era of Mass Immigration
- Argentina, Slavery in
- Argentine Literature
- Army of Chile in the 19th Century
- Asian Art and Its Impact in the Americas, 1565–1840
- Asian-Peruvian Literature
- Atlantic Creoles
- Baroque and Neo-baroque Literary Tradition
- Bello, Andrés
- Black Experience in Colonial Latin America, The
- Black Experience in Modern Latin America, The
- Borderlands in Latin America, Conquest of
- Bourbon Reforms, The
- Brazilian Northeast, History of the
- Buenos Aires
- Caribbean Philosophical Association, The
- Caribbean, The Archaeology of the
- Cartagena de Indias
- Caste War of Yucatán, The
- Caudillos, 19th Century
- Cádiz Constitution and Liberalism, The
- Chaco War
- Children, History of
- Chile's Struggle for Independence
- Chronicle, The
- Church in Colonial Latin America, The
- Chávez, Hugo, and the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela
- Cinema, Contemporary Brazilian
- Cinema, Latin American
- Colonial Central America
- Colonial New Granada
- Colonial Portuguese Amazon Region, from the 17th to 18th C...
- Contemporary Maya, The
- Costa Rica
- Cárdenas and Cardenismo
- Cuban Revolution, The
- Dependency Theory in Latin American History
- Development of Architecture in New Spain, 1500–1810, The
- Development of Painting in Peru, 1520–1820, The
- Drug Trades in Latin America
- Dutch in South America and the Caribbean, The
- Early Colonial Forms of Native Expression in Mexico and Pe...
- Economies from Independence to Industrialization
- Ecuador, La Generación del 30 in
- El Salvador
- Enlightenment and its Visual Manifestations in Spanish Ame...
- Environmental History
- Era of Porfirio Díaz, 1876–1911, The
- Family History
- Film, Science Fiction
- Football (Soccer) in Latin America
- Gaucho Literature
- Gender in Colonial Brazil
- Gender in Postcolonial Latin America
- Guatemala and Yucatan, Conquest of
- Guatemala City
- Guatemala (Colonial Period)
- Guatemala (Modern & National Period)
- Haitian Revolution, The
- Health and Disease in Modern Latin America, History of
- History, Cultural
- History, Food
- Honor in Latin America to 1900
- Horror in Literature and Film in Latin America
- Human Rights in Latin America
- Immigration in Latin America
- Indigenous Elites in the Colonial Andes
- Indigenous Population and Justice System in Central Mexico...
- Indigenous Voices in Literature
- Japanese Presence in Latin America
- Jewish Presence in Latin America, The
- Las Casas, Bartolomé de
- Latin American Independence
- Latin American Urbanism, 1850-1950
- Law and Society in Latin America since 1800
- Legal History of New Spain, 16th-17th Centuries
- Legal History of the State and Church in 18th Century New ...
- Literature, Argentinian
- Machado de Assis
- Magical Realism
- Maroon Societies in Latin America
- Martí, José, and Cuba
- Mestizaje and the Legacy of José María Arguedas
- Mexican Nationalism
- Mexican Revolution, 1910–1940, The
- Mexican-US Relations
- Mexico, Conquest of
- Mexico, Education in
- Migration to the United States
- Military and Modern Latin America, The
- Military Government in Latin America, 1959–1990
- Military Institution in Colonial Latin America, The
- Modern Decorative Arts and Design, 1900–2000
- Modern Populism in Latin America
- Modernity and Decoloniality
- Musical Tradition in Latin America, The
- Native Presence in Postconquest Central Peru
- New Conquest History and the New Philology in Colonial Mes...
- New Left in Latin America, The
- Novel, Chronology of the Venezuelan
- Novel of the Mexican Revolution, The
- Novel, 19th Century Haitian
- Novel, The Colombian
- Oaxaca, Conquest and Colonial
- Painting in New Spain, 1521–1820
- Paraguayan War (War of the Triple Alliance)
- Pastoralism in the Andes
- Paz, Octavio
- Perón and Peronism
- Peru, Colonial
- Peru, Conquest of
- Peru, Slavery in
- Philippines Under Spanish Rule, 1571-1898
- Photography in the History of Race and Nation
- Political Exile in Latin America
- Popular Culture and Globalization
- Popular Movements in 19th-Century Latin America
- Post Conquest Aztecs
- Post-Conquest Demographic Collapse
- Poverty in Latin America
- Preconquest Incas
- Pre-conquest Mesoamerican States, The
- Pre-Revolutionary Mexico, State and Nation Formation in
- Printing and the Book
- Prints and the Circulation of Colonial Images
- Protestantism in Latin America
- Religions in Latin America
- Revolution and Reaction in Central America
- Rosas, Juan Manuel de
- Sandinista Revolution and the FSLN, The
- Santo Domingo
- Science and Empire in the Iberian Atlantic
- Sexualities in Latin America and the Caribbean
- Slavery in Brazil
- São Paulo
- Spanish and Portuguese Trade, 1500–1750
- Spanish Caribbean In The Colonial Period, The
- Spanish Colonial Decorative Arts, 1500-1825
- Spanish Florida
- Telenovelas and Melodrama in Latin America
- Textile Traditions of the Andes
- 16th-Century New Spain
- Transculturation and Literature
- Trujillo, Rafael
- Tupac Amaru Rebellion, The
- United States and Castro's Cuba in the Cold War, The
- United States and the Guatemalan Revolution, The
- United States Invasion of the Dominican Republic, 1961–196...
- Urban History
- Urbanization in the 20th Century, Latin America’s
- U.S.-Latin American Relations During the Cold War
- Vargas, Getúlio
- Venezuelan Literature
- Women and Labor in 20th-Century Latin America
- Women in Colonial Latin American History
- Women in Modern Latin American History
- Zapatista Rebellion in Chiapas