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Brett Troyan
SUNY Research Foundation, College at Cortland (Cortland, NY 13045-0900)

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars
Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2011 – 12/31/2011

Legitimizing Ethnic Politics: A Historical Ethnography of the Colombian State in Cauca, Colombia from 1910-1991

One of the most remarkable recent developments in Colombian 20th century history is the success of the indigenous political movement. The indigenous population, which represents only 3. 43 percent of the total Colombian population, has rights over almost 25 percent of the national territory. Scholars have attributed the success of the indigenous movement to the strength of the indigenous grassroots organizations (Avirama 1994, Findji 1992), to the weakness of the central state (Van Cott 2000), to the exceptional indigenous intellectual leadership of Colombian indigenous communities (Rappaport 1990) and, recently, to successful intercultural relationships established with non-indigenous sectors of society (Laurent 2005, Caviedes 2000, Rappaport 2005, Troyan 2002). While these factors have played an important role in the success of the Colombian indigenous movement, my study will uncover the crucial role that the national state has played in legitimizing ethnic politics since the 1930s.