Bolivia is a country in which many very different cultures and religious traditions have come into contact with each other and often clashed violently; however, in spite of their radical differences, in a process akin to the creation of the mestizo race, these different traditions have blended together to form a culture that incorporates elements of both “parent” cultures, but is uniquely Bolivian. Many aspects of Bolivian culture, such as the architecture, food, dress, and religious beliefs, reflect an amalgamation of different cultures, a process known as syncretism. The most obvious examples of this cultural syncretism are those that resulted from the blending of the European (Spanish) culture and religion with those of the indigenous cultures (Quechua and Aymara) that flourished at the time of the conquest; however, new forms of cultural syncretism develop in an on-going process that continues to the present day as other cultures, especially that of the United States, become more and more influential. This presentation is based on my observations made during a two-month long visit to Bolivia earlier this semester.
Colleen Carroll, ’12
Majors: Latin American Studies, Ethnic Studies, Spanish
Sponsor: Carol Lacy-Salazar