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"Embers of the Past is a major statement on nation-building and nation deconstruction. Arguing that the construction of nations on the bases of modernity and linear history facilitated the rise of Europeans and the decline of Latin American communities, Javier Sanjinés C. unravels not only those concepts but also others including Eurocentrism, capitalism, multitude, indio, criollo, leterado, and iletrado. He calls for the disarticulation of Western thinking and metaphors, the debunking of 'universalism' and 'progress.'"—Ileana Rodríguez, author of Liberalism at Its Limits: Crime and Terror in the Latin American Cultural Text
"In Embers of the Past, Javier Sanjinés C. takes as his point of departure the problems of modernity and Western models of development in present-day Bolivia. Yet this fascinating book can be usefully applied in any society with a significant subalternized or racialized population. Sanjinés reveals ethnicity as a complex process of reworking and reinventing culture, a process that relates the present with the ancestral past in more composite ways than one would have imagined."—Arturo Arias, author of Taking Their Word: Literature and the Signs of Central America
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Embers of the Past is a powerful critique of historicism and modernity. Javier Sanjinés C. analyzes the conflict between the cultures and movements of indigenous peoples and attention to the modern nation-state in its contemporary Latin American manifestations. He contends that indigenous movements have introduced doubt into the linear course of modernity, reopening the gap between the symbolic and the real. Addressing this rupture, Sanjines argues that scholars must rethink their temporal categories. Toward that end, he engages with recent events in Latin America, particularly in Bolivia, and with Latin American intellectuals, as well as European thinkers disenchanted with modernity. Sanjinés dissects the concepts of the homogeneous nation and linear time, and insists on the need to reclaim the indigenous subjectivities still labeled "premodern" and excluded from the production, distribution, and organization of knowledge.