Crafts, Capitalism, and Women: The Potters of La Chamba, Colombia / Edition 1 available in Hardcover
- Pub. Date:
- University Press of Florida
"A compelling, comprehensive description and analysis of the traditions, socioeconomic parameters, and ceramic styles found in a contemporary pottery-making community located in an understudied region of Latin America. The author’s impressive documentation of the cultural and economic changes occurring in La Chamba, Colombia, provide an especially valuable assessment useful to students of anthropology, craft technology, economics, history, gender studies, art history, and cultural dynamics, as well as ceramic studies."Charles C. Kolb, National Endowment for the Humanities
Focusing on people of indigenous and mestizo descent in Colombia, Ronald Duncan documents how the global economy extends the labor exploitation that began with their defeat by the Spanish. He argues that the treatment of home-based craft workers that occurs today among women and children in La Chamba and other areas of Latin America is structurally similar to the slavery and indentured servitude that followed the Conquest.
Women potters of La Chamba make some of the most beautifully finished ceramics of South America, as this book’s photographs and illustrations demonstrate, and they have been doing so for more than a millennium. Grandmothers make traditional cooking pots, mothers make utilitarian bowls for sale to urban families, and daughters make one-of-a-kind art pieces on special order. But even though their work is exported to Europe and the United States, the potters are paid less than the minimum wage for their work. Despite being part of the booming global economy, the women reap precious few of its rewards.
A companion volume to Duncan’s Ceramics of Ráquira, Colombia, this book continues his analysis of how capitalism is used to reinforce a strict traditional caste system that ensures profits for the business class. Equally compelling is the history and description of the heroic survival of indigenous culture in this hybrid society, as it adapts to contemporary economic realities.
Ronald J. Duncan is professor of anthropology and museum management at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee. He is the author of The Ceramics of Ráquira, Colombia: Gender, Work, and Economic Change (UPF, 1998).