Skip to main content

Cholas and Pishtacos

Stories of Race and Sex in the Andes

Winner of the 2003 Senior Book Prize from the American Ethnological Society.

Cholas and Pishtacos are two provocative characters from South American popular culture—a sensual mixed-race woman and a horrifying white killerwho show up in everything from horror stories and dirty jokes to romantic novels and travel posters. In this elegantly written book, these two figures become vehicles for an exploration of race, sex, and violence that pulls the reader into the vivid landscapes and lively cities of the Andes. Weismantel’s theory of race and sex begins not with individual identity but with three forms of social and economic interaction: estrangement, exchange, and accumulation. She maps the barriers that separate white and Indian, male and female-barriers that exist not in order to prevent exchange, but rather to exacerbate its inequality.

Weismantel weaves together sources ranging from her own fieldwork and the words of potato sellers, hotel maids, and tourists to classic works by photographer Martin Chambi and novelist José María Arguedas. Cholas and Pishtacos is also an enjoyable and informative introduction to a relatively unknown region of the Americas.

334 pages | 12 halftones, 2 maps, 1 table | 6 x 9 | © 2001

Women in Culture and Society

Anthropology: Cultural and Social Anthropology

Gender and Sexuality

Latin American Studies

Women's Studies

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: Indian and White
Part One: Estrangement
1. City of Indians
2. City of Women
Part Two: Exchange
3. Sharp Trading
4. Deadly Intercourse
Part Three: Accumulation
5. White Men
6. The Black Mother
Afterword: Strong Smells
Works Cited


American Ethnological Society: AES Senior Book Prize

Society for Humanistic Anthropology: Victor Turner Prize for Ethnographic Writing
Honorable Mention

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press