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The Ethnography of Reading$
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Jonathan Boyarin

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780520079557

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520079557.001.0001

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Seven Literacy, Orality, and Ritual Practice In Highland Colombia

Seven Literacy, Orality, and Ritual Practice In Highland Colombia

(p.139) Seven Literacy, Orality, and Ritual Practice In Highland Colombia
The Ethnography of Reading

Jonathan Boyarin

University of California Press

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

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