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Conflict, Heritage and World-Making in the Chaco

War at the End of the Worlds?

Conflict, Heritage and World-Making in the Chaco documents and interprets the physical remains and afterlives of South America’s first “modern” armed conflict, the Chaco War (1932–35), and its effects on modern-day Paraguay. Esther Breithoff not only focuses on conventional archaeological remains but also takes an ontological approach to heterogeneous assemblages of objects, texts, practices, and landscapes shaped by industrial war. What she shows is that these assemblages are not simply dead memorials to a bloody war, but rather have been, and continue to be, active in making, unmaking, and remaking worlds—both for those who saw the war itself and for those who continue to live with its effects in the present.
Framing the study as an exploration of modern, industrialized warfare as a sort of “hyper object”, Breithoff shows how the material culture and heritage of modern conflict fuse together objects, people, and landscapes, connecting them physically and conceptually across vast, almost unimaginable distances and time periods. This book makes a major contribution to key debates in anthropology, archaeology, critical heritage, and material culture studies on the significance of conflict in understanding the Anthropocene, and the roles played by its persistent heritages in assembling worlds.

224 pages | 74 color plates | 6.14 x 9.21 | © 2020

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Anthropology: Cultural and Social Anthropology


History: Latin American History

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Table of Contents

List of Figures Preface Acknowledgements 1. Introduction: War at the End of the Worlds? 2. ‘Sin vencedores ni vencidos’: The Chaco and its Forgotten War 3. Dwelling Place, Promised Land and Green Hell? The Many Worlds of the Chaco 4. Trade, Trash, Treasure: Recycling Conflict, Making Worlds 5. Ruins of Modernity: Archaeology and Heritage in the Chaco 6. Anthropocene Hyperobjects: Persistent Heritages beyond the Chaco War References Index

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