Memories of Earth and Sea

An Ethnographic History of the Islands of Chiloé

Anton Daughters (Author)
Hardcover ($60.00), Ebook ($60.00) Buy
The more than two dozen islands that make up southern Chile’s Chiloé Archipelago present a unique case of culture change and rapid industrialization in the twentieth century. Since the arrival of the first European settlers in the late 1500s, Chiloé was given scant attention by colonial and national governments on mainland Chile. Islanders developed a way of life heavily dependent on marine resources, native crops like the potato, and the cooperative labor practice known as the minga.

Starting in the 1980s, Chiloé emerged as a key player in the global seafood market as major companies moved into the region to extract wild stocks of fish and to grow salmon and shellfish for export. The region’s economy shifted abruptly from one of subsistence farming and fishing to wage labor in export industries. Local knowledge, traditions, memories, and identities similarly shifted, with younger islanders expressing a more critical view of the rural past than their elders.

This book recounts the unique history of this region, emphasizing the generational tensions, disconnects, and continuities of the last half century. Drawing on interviews, field observations, and historical documents, Anton Daughters brings to life one of the most culturally distinct regions of South America.
“Daughters reminds us that it is from the contradictions of longing for difficult pasts that dynamic forms of identity emerge and Indigenous heritage is rediscovered in daily life vis-à-vis promises of ineluctable modernization.”—Piergiorgio Di Giminiani, author of Sentient Lands: Indigeneity, Property, and Political Imagination in Neoliberal Chile

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