Indigenous and Popular Thinking in América


Indigenous and Popular Thinking
in América

Rodolfo Kusch, translated by María Lugones and Joshua M. Price
2010, Duke University Press
288 pages, 20 plates

THE PUBLICATION of this book represents an interesting development in Latin American thought that calls to mind the work of the Uruguayan essayist José Enrique Rodó, whose Ariel (1900) was intended to orient youth in the region away from the debilitating materialism of the “American Way of Life”. The Argentine philosopher Rodolfo Kusch (1922–79) was similarly fascinated by essential thought and the opposition between rationalism and “popular” thinking, but in this case within the cosmologies of indigenous America. Originally published in Mexico in 1970, Indigenous and Popular Thinking in América is the first of Kusch’s books to be translated into English. The philosopher’s work sought to identify and recover an indigenous and popular way of thinking, which he argued was dis¬missed or, rather, misunderstood by urban Argentines, and in particular those on the left. Interest in his writing comes as the social-democratic left establishes what might be considered a political – and intellectual – hegemony in Latin America, creating obvious parallels with the era of Rodó and the reassessment in the period following the Cuban war of the Anglo-Saxon model of modernity. – GO’T

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