The Ecuador Reader

History, Culture, Politics

The Ecuador Reader

The Latin America Readers

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Book Pages: 480 Illustrations: 39 illustrations, 1 map, 1 figure Published: January 2009

General Interest > Travel, History > Latin American History, Latin American Studies > Andes

Encompassing Amazonian rainforests, Andean peaks, coastal lowlands, and the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador’s geography is notably diverse. So too are its history, culture, and politics, all of which are examined from many perspectives in The Ecuador Reader. 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 twentieth century. Interspersed among forty-eight written selections are more than three dozen images.

The voices and creations of Ecuadorian politicians, writers, artists, scholars, activists, and journalists fill the Reader, from José María Velasco Ibarra, the nation’s ultimate populist and five-time president, to Pancho Jaime, a political satirist; from Julio Jaramillo, a popular twentieth-century singer, to anonymous indigenous women artists who produced ceramics in the 1500s; and from the poems of Afro-Ecuadorians, to the fiction of the vanguardist Pablo Palacio, to a recipe for traditional Quiteño-style shrimp. The Reader includes an interview with Nina Pacari, the first indigenous woman elected to Ecuador’s national assembly, and a reflection on how to balance tourism with the protection of the Galápagos Islands’ magnificent ecosystem. Complementing selections by Ecuadorians, many never published in English, are samples of some of the best writing on Ecuador by outsiders, including an account of how an indigenous group with non-Inca origins came to see themselves as definitively Incan, an exploration of the fascination with the Andes from the 1700s to the present, chronicles of the less-than-exemplary behavior of U.S. corporations in Ecuador, an examination of Ecuadorians’ overseas migration, and a look at the controversy surrounding the selection of the first black Miss Ecuador.


The Ecuador Reader introduces readers to important debates about colonial and post-colonial Ecuador, particularly through the mid-twentieth century. Importantly, it introduces students and interested readers to key debates on governance, economic change and culture as they have transpired over time in the country, with particularly strong emphases on pre-1980s Ecuador and on indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorean experiences.” — Amy Lind, Journal of Latin American Studies

The Ecuador Reader provides an idiosyncratic anthology with some excellent essays that have not been easily accessible in the past. . . . . [The] book illustrates key themes that will intrigue and surprise those who wish to better understand this Andean enigma.” — John A. Sanbrailo, Latin Business Chronicle

“[A] welcome source of information and insight into the enigma that is Ecuador. Its greatest contribution is the inclusion of works by or about Ecuador’s marginalized groups. The Reader should be considered for adoption as a case study in a course on Latin American Civilization or as a supplemental text in a specialty course on the Andean nations.”
— George M. Lauderbaugh, The Latin Americanist

“[S]uccessfully present[s] an overview of Ecuador’s history, culture, and politics for the general reader or a student who is new to the field. . . . [T]his volume is an impressively broad and useful contribution to the field of Ecuadorian studies.” — Marc Becker, Hispanic American Historical Review

“De la Torre and co-editor Steve Striffler have met the challenge of summarising the country’s almost unmanageable diversity by embracing it, and The Ecuador Reader is one of the better introductory volumes in Duke’s superb Latin American reader series. . . .” — Gavin O’Toole, Latin American Review of Books

“Enthralling compilation of voices, opinions and writings by Ecuadorian politicians, authors, artists, intellectuals and activists, interspersed with essays on Ecuador by outsiders, with up-to-date analysis on the latest trends and issues. A must for understanding contemporary Ecuador.” — The Rough Guide to Ecuador

The Ecuador Reader is a gateway for understanding the volatile and intriguing history of this complex, multicultural land. From José María Velasco Ibarra’s fiery populism to the politics of a contemporary beauty pageant, the book captures the rich diversity of the country’s past and present. It is a major contribution to the study of the Andean world.” — Catherine M. Conaghan, Queen’s University

The Ecuador Reader offers an intriguing glimpse of the diverse voices and perspectives through which Ecuadorians have engaged the social, political, and cultural challenges of crafting a modern nation. Compiled by two of the leading scholars of Ecuadorian cultural and political thought, the essays in this volume provide testimony to the diversity and creativity of the intellectuals, organizations, communities, and individuals who people Ecuadorian history. The discussions of identity, ethnicity, colonialism, development, culture, and the state found in these pages offer a unique starting point for exploring Ecuador’s historical path from being a colony on the edges of the Inca and Spanish empires to becoming a central player in modern Latin American political debates.” — Deborah Poole, Johns Hopkins University


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Carlos de la Torre is Director of the doctoral program in and Chair of Political Studies at FLACSO (La Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales) in Quito, Ecuador. He is the author of Populist Seduction in Latin America: The Ecuadorian Experience and several books in Spanish, including Afroquiteños: Ciudadanía y Racismo.

Steve Striffler is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Arkansas. He is the author of In the Shadows of State and Capital: the United Fruit Company, Popular Struggle, and Agrarian Restructuring in Ecuador, 1900–1995 and a coeditor of Banana Wars: Power, Production, and History in the Americas, both also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

I. Conquest and Colonial Rule 9

II. A New Nation 101

III. The Rise of the Popular 159

IV. Global Currents 193

V. Domination and Struggle 281

VI. Cultures and Identities Redefined 341

Suggestions for Further Reading 423

Acknowledgment of Copyrights 427

Index 431
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-4374-5 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-4352-3
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