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    Indianismo y exotismo / Ricardo Rojas
    Eurindia: ensayo de estética sobre las culturas americanas / Ricardo Rojas.-- Buenos Aires : Editorial Losada, 1951.
    p. 20 - 21
    Book/pamphlet article – Essays

     Rojas, Ricardo. "Indianismo y exotismo." In Eurindia : ensayo de estética sobre las culturas americanas, 20-21. Buenos Aires: Editorial Losada, 1951


In “Indianismo y exoticismo,” Argentinean journalist and writer Ricardo Rojas posits that the history of Latin America can be explained as a rhythm of fluctuations between “indianismo,” the valorization of indigenous culture, and “exoticismo,” the importation or imposition of foreign culture. Rojas outlines four alternating periods that evidence this trend: the pre-conquest period, in which indigenous people ruled Latin America; the conquest, during which the Spanish and Portuguese took control of the continent; the period of independence movements, in which European governing forces were driven out of Latin America; and the cosmopolitan period, which witnessed an influx of European immigrants, especially in Argentina. Rojas predicts the advance of a new period that will be distinguished by the efforts of artists and writers to craft autochthonous national identities through art and literature that incorporate Latin American values and indigenous subjects. Rojas describes this incipient period as a peaceful artistic and philosophical renaissance, rather than a xenophobic reconquest of Latin America. According to Rojas the pattern of alternation between “indianismo” and “exoticismo” is mirrored in literary trends throughout the history of Argentina, which can be seen as a series of transitions between indigenous folklore, colonial pseudo-classicism, Argentinean gaucho poems, and European positivism and decadent poetry. Rojas emphasizes that the formation of a national Argentinean culture requires both the political development caused by European relations as well as the artistic and literary influence of indigenous culture.


Ricardo Rojas (1882–1957) was an Argentinean journalist and writer, and the chancellor of the Universidad de Buenos Aires from 1926 to 1930. Rojas grew up in the province of Santiago del Estero, where his father was governor, and he later moved to Buenos Aires. He is remembered for his eight volume history of Argentinean literature. In the 1930s, while incarcerated in Ushuaia for participating in the militant Unión Cívica Radical, Rojas wrote Archipiélago on the history of the indigenous yaganes and onas and their religion. “Indianismo y exoticismo” forms part of Rojas’s book Eurindia, published in 1924. The title Eurindia refers to Rojas’s conception of a national Argentinean identity that incorporated both European and indigenous elements.

Molly Moog
International Center for the Arts of the Americas, MFAH, Houston, USA
© Presidencia de la Nación, Secretaría de Cultura, Museo Ricardo Rojas-Instituto de Investigaciones. Por disposición expresa de Ricardo Rojas, donación de Julieta Quinteros al Estado Nacional, Decreto Ley No. 1372/58, 5 de febrero de 1958.