Rethinking Amerindian spaces in Brazilian history

Mark Harris, Silvia Espelt-Bombin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


This special issue on Amerindian spaces is the result of a workshop held at the University of St. Andrews, UK, in June 2015. We asked participants to examine key concepts related to spatial history, such as borderlands, frontiers, and territories, by looking at them through alliances and rebellions involving Amerindians and the colonial and independent states in Latin America.1 Our aim was to gain a continental understanding of Indian political geography that went beyond European territorial divisions. This purpose continues into the present issue with its focus on the internal and international frontiers of Brazil and how they relate to spaces of indigenous collective action. The articles here reexamine areas that have been considered peripheral in Brazilian historiography, placing the emphasis on indigenous history and society. These spaces proved surprisingly impervious to the imposition of external authority, but each space has its own history that cannot be solely defined by the internal and external frontiers of Brazilian colonial and national expansion. Equally, these indigenous spaces influenced policy and practice, as governments sought to exert control over native labor and advance land settlement for colonists. Our choice for a spatial perspective forces an examination of a regionally connected system of social groups and the environments in which people lived, and which they sought to protect and defend. As a result, we go beyond place, territory, and frontier as concepts and use the term space to invoke a direct and holistic relationship with the larger spheres in which people move and act.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-547
Number of pages11
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


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