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Title page for ETD etd-03282016-125804

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Harper, Kyle Lee
Author's Email Address k.harper@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-03282016-125804
Title Archaeology of Ribeirinho Culture in the Lower Amazon Basin, 1600-1800
Degree Master of Arts
Department Latin American Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
William R. Fowler Committee Chair
Charles E. Orser, Jr. Committee Member
  • Ribeirinho culture
  • resiliency
  • indigenous slavery
  • archaeology of colonialism
  • ethnogenesis
  • creolization
  • Amazonia
Date of Defense 2016-04-22
Availability unrestricted
This study seeks to understand the ways in which colonial settlements, located within the Municipality of Gurupá, in the Lower Amazon Basin in Brazil, played a key role in the formation of ribeirinho culture. The term ribeirinho, meaning ‘riverbank dweller,’ is a designation that is widely used throughout the Brazilian Amazon to identify the descendants of mixed Portuguese, African and indigenous heritage who today predominate the Lower Amazon Basin landscape. In this thesis, I design arguments for potential avenues of archaeological research at sites such as forts, settler villages, and missions, in order to understand how unequal power relations within the colonial encounter would have taken shape through practice, and would have subsequently been inscribed in both objects and on the cultural landscape. By utilizing this framework, archaeological correlates have the potential to reveal the complex cultural and ethnic transformations experienced by colonial inhabitants, thus defying overarching and essentializing generalizations commonly found in cultural change and continuity dichotomies. Through the exploration of the material culture found in the archaeological record, investigations into historical source material, and direct involvement of community members, future results may help to shed light on the formation of a proto-Amazonian society made up of different groups experiencing varying forms of cultural change and/or continuity, simultaneously, both across and within sites.
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