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Peasants, Protests, and Power in Andean History

Like many global hot spots of the twentieth century, the Andes is marked by its history of structural inequality, racial conflict, and legacies of poverty and violence. Tensions between urban and rural areas as well as between descendants of European and Andean ancestry still exist and remain a source of scholarly interest in the region. In the mid twentieth century, Cold War battles between capitalism and communism spurred many Andean nations to begin a series of agrarian reforms in the hopes of liberalizing their own rural economies while simultaneously undercutting support for Marxist agitators and revolutionary movements. As the social, economic, and political shockwaves of these agrarian reforms spread over the next several decades, historians began exploring the origins of rural social movements and the people who fought for them as a way of informing contemporary debate. The field of peasant studies represents one of those initiatives.
            In the historiography on Andea…
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