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date: 22 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides a critical analysis of the concept of ethnogenesis with new perspectives on the processes of conquest and colonization from native American voices, albeit filtered through colonial sources. A growing body of ethnohistorical literature has laid to rest the idea that the impact of contact, conquest, and European expansion can be summed up in the decimation of indigenous societies. One of the key notions prominent in these new perspectives, “ethnogenesis” has been reconfigured in an attempt to capture the articulation between endogenous patterns of change and the exogenous forces introduced by European expansion. In this sense the ethnohistorical mosaic of fixed ethnic groups that covers the post-contact map of Brazil stands in stark contrast to a constantly shifting precolonial configuration that can best be described as a kaleidoscope. This chapter argues further that an intrinsic relation exists between the ethnic and social classifications imposed by the colonial order and the formation of ethnic identities.

Keywords: ethnogenesis, Tupí, Guaraní, ethnocide, epidemic disease, Portuguese America

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