Document Type



Author's Final Manuscript

Publication Title

Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies



Publication Date



This essay examines the longstanding lettered tradition of representing the Andean native as anonymous, and what I view as a potential challenge to this tradition in Claudia Llosa'sLlosa, Claudia. 2006. Madeinusa, Madrid: Universal Pictures, Oberón Cinematográfica. [Google Scholar] film Madeinusa (2006). By following the gaze of the native as a common thread, I trace a genealogy of the figure of the anonymous native in Peruvian letters since the early twentieth century. Early essays and paintings of the native, I claim, display a basic politics of anonymity, while fictional works explore the narrative implications of and alternatives to this politics. Understood in terms of its formal economy, anonymity redistributes agency from the individual native to the observer, the outsider, the leader, or the community. I argue that the figure of the anonymous native is invoked and refunctionalized in a particular scene of Llosa's film, where the native's gaze is contaminated through associative montage with the gaze of a cow. The film produces a tension between plot and image that poses anonymity as a choice to the spectator, thus tapping into cultural history to expose it and perhaps defy it.