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Title page for ETD etd-04172012-203657

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Foss, Sarah
URN etd-04172012-203657
Title Ahora Todos Somos PanameƱos: Kuna Identity and Panamanian Nationalism under the Torrijos Regime, 1968-1981
Degree Master of Arts
Department Latin American Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
William F. Robinson Committee Chair
Marshall C. Eakin Committee Member
  • Kuna
  • multiculturalism
  • identity
  • nationalism
  • ethnicity
  • Panama
Date of Defense 2012-08-01
Availability unrestricted
In 1968, a military coup surprised Panama, placing political power in the hands of populist leader General Omar Torrijos Herrera. Recuperation of the Panama Canal remained a high priority to the government, and Torrijos repeatedly articulated that the means to territorial sovereignty only existed through a unified Panamanian nation. Thus, the Torrijos government embarked on the task of incorporating the marginalized masses into the government, including the notoriously autonomous Kuna. As pluriethnicity became a crucial tenet of Panamanian national identity, the Kuna struggled to preserve their culture but simultaneously adopted governmental development programs and capitalized on opportunities for political participation. This project studies the relationship between the Kuna and the Torrijos government, which lasted from 1968-1981, focusing on issues of nationalism, ethnicity, and identity.
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