Pedagogías del Despojo y Dispositivos Narrativos Coloniales: Rodolfo Lenz, el Temblor de Tierra, las Dudosas Fuentes del Desastre y la Cultura Mapuche

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Department 1

Globalization Studies

Department 2



This article discusses Rodolfo Lenz’s Tradiciones e ideas de los araucanos acerca de los terremotos (1912), dwelling on the preservation and reproduction of a Mapuche traditional story about the origin of earthquakes and tsunamis. Impressed by the impact of Mapudungun over the Spanish in Santiago, Chile, Lenz started a long journey to explore the relation between both languages, ending up strongly committed to the research of the Mapudungun and the promotion of Mapuche culture. Lenz’s early expectations on the direct access to Mapudungun speakers to trace back linguistic changes and traditional stories would be later frustrated by the colonial framework of its compilation. Integrating linguistic samples, fieldwork, and stories documented by colonial institutions to the research done by his contemporaries, Lenz expresses his doubts about the possibility of going back to the grain of stories shaped and reshaped by a longstanding Spanish colonial domination. However, the alignment with the official Chilean culture is quite notorious. This essay underlines those aspects, related to major concerns and academic trends of his time, while insisting on Lenz’s commitment to a strong, persistent and systematic defense of Mapuche culture.


Published by the University of Pennsylvania Press, and available online through Project MUSE.

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