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Originally published in Mexico in 1970, Indigenous and Popular Thinking in America is the first book by the Argentine philosopher Rodolfo Kusch (1922-79) to be translated into English. At its core is a binary created by colonization and the devaluation of indigenous practices and cosmologies: an opposition between the technologies and rationalities of European modernity and the popular mode of thinking, which is deeply tied to Indian ways of knowing and being. Arguing that this binary cuts through America, Kusch seeks to identify and recover the indigenous and popular way of thinking, which he contends is dismissed or misunderstood by many urban Argentines, including leftist intellectuals.Indigenous and Popular Thinking in America is a record of Kusch's attempt to immerse himself in the indigenous ways of knowing and being. At first glance, his methodology resembles ethnography. He speaks with and observes indigenous people and mestizos in Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. He questions them about their agricultural practices and economic decisions; he observes rituals; he asks women in the market the meaning of indigenous talismans; he interviews shamans; he describes the spatial arrangement and the contents of shrines, altars, and temples; and he reproduces diagrams of archaeological sites, which he then interprets at length. Yet he does not present a "them" to a putative "us." Instead, he offers an inroad to a way of thinking and being that does not follow the logic or fit into the categories of Western social science and philosophy. In his introduction, Walter D. Mignolo discusses Kusch's work and its relation to that of other twentieth-century intellectuals, Argentine history, and contemporary scholarship on the subaltern and decoloniality.
Rodolfo Kusch studied philosophy at the Universidad de Buenos Aires and taught for many years at the Universidad de Salta in northern Argentina. He is the author of numerous books, including Esbozo de una antropologia filosofica Americana, Geocultura del Hombre Americano, America Profunda, and la Seduccion de la Barbarie.
Illustrations xi Introduction: Immigrant Consciousness / Walter D. Mignolo xiii Translators' Introduction lv Prologue to the Third Edition lxxi Prologue to the First Edition lxxv 1. American Thinking 1 2. Understanding 8 3. Limit 15 4. Knowledge 26 5. Ritual 34 6. The Theory of the Turn 41 7. Divine Teaching 52 8. Indigenous Logic 70 9. Symmetry and Truth 81 10. Salvation and Economy 89 11. Salvation and Solution 102 12. Popular Thinking 115 13. Seminal Thinking 124 14. Seminal Economy 135 15. Infantile Seminality 144 16. Thinking the "Asi" 151 17. The Crossroads of Mere Estar 158 18. Recovering the Absolute 165 Notes 173 Bibliography 195 Index 203
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