Shane Greene
Indiana University, USA


This article examines the trials and tribulations of a recent state-led program of afro-indigenous multiculturalism in Peru within a much broader intellectual history of the nation, its regions, and the ideologies that govern them. In contrast to broadly comparative accounts of afro-descendant and indigenous politics at the regional Latin American level that emphasize the contrast of “race” vs. “culture,” I argue for closer attention to the ways in which afro-indigenous multiculturalisms are Peruvianized in the process of global-cum-regional expansion. The Peruvian case is particularly interesting because of the way the state separates out its multicultural subjects by region (recognizing specifically Andeans, Amazonians, and Afro-Peruvians who are implicitly “coastal”). I also analyze how the nation’s long-standing fascination with the figure of the “returning Inca” affords Andeans a peculiarly “elite” indigenous status within the multicultural imagination. The recurring historical influence of what I term the effects of the “Inca slot” suggest possibilities for a possible point of comparison for all those defined as not-Andean / not-Inca in the process, particularly Afro-Peruvians and indigenous Amazonians in this context.

Keywords: multiculturalism, Afro-Peruvians, indigenous peoples, Peru, social movements.