Memories of Earth and Sea
An Ethnographic History of the Islands of Chiloé
Hardcover ($60.00), Ebook ($60.00)
Memories of Earth and Sea recounts the history of more than two dozen islands clustered along the Patagonian flank of South America. Settled over the centuries by nomadic seafarers, indigenous farmers, and Spanish explorers, southern Chile’s Archipelago of Chiloé remained until recently a rural outpost resistant to cultural pressures from the mainland. 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.
Staring in the 1980s, Chiloé was thrust into the global economy when major companies moved into the region to extract wild stocks of fish and to grow salmon and shellfish for export. The archipelago’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 young islanders expressing a more critical view of the rural past than their elders.
This book highlights the region’s unique past, 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 Drawing on interviews, field observations, and historical documents, Anton Daughters brings to life one of South America’s most culturally distinct regions.
“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