Andean Diaspora: The Tiwanaku Colonies and the Origins of South American Empire; New Destinations: Mexican Immigration in the United States

In This Review

Andean Diaspora: The Tiwanaku Colonies and the Origins of South American Empire

By Paul S. Goldstein
University of Press Florida, 2005
416 pp. $59.95
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New Destinations: Mexican Immigration in the United States

Edited by Víctor Zúñiga and Rubén Hernández-León
Russell Sage Foundation, 2005
368 pp. $45.00
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During the first millennium, in the south-central Andean region now divided among Peru, Bolivia, and Chile, Tiwanaku clans built a flourishing, inventive, peaceful confederation that was multiethnic both at its core, in the Tiwanaku metropolis, and in its archipelago of colonial settlements. The organizational secret behind this pre-Inca success story? A diaspora of politically decentralized but economically specialized and integrated communities. In this astonishingly rich and ambitious scholarly study -- exemplary of the contemporary boom in pre-Colombian archaeology -- Goldstein challenges the globalist and world-system paradigms of imperialism born of the European (and Roman) experience, uncovering instead a dispersal of authority among elites and a mutually advantageous and ecologically based economic exchange. In echoes of current debates over hard versus soft power, Goldstein suggests that "Pax Tiwanaku" was more rooted in shared ideas and identities than in force and institutions. This intrepid masterpiece also fires the imagination: for example, by adopting more coercive colonization methods, did the Incas -- the final inheritors of the Andean imperial tradition begun at Tiwanaku -- stoke the interracial strife and antistate rebelliousness that wracks the region to this day?

The contemporary Mexican diaspora, once largely confined to the Southwest, is now a rapidly spreading archipelago of communities scattered throughout the United States. New Destinations offers fresh and sometimes colorful snapshots of the contemporary Mexican immigrant experience in towns as varied as Omaha, Nebraska; Dalton, Georgia; and Salisbury, Maryland. The contributors, U.S. and Mexican social scientists, discover that local communities, their governments, business leaders, and nonprofit advocacy and social-service associations are often embracing the new arrivals. The occasional xenophobic backlash by poorer whites and blacks or exploitive employers has been quickly snuffed out by more progressive or paternalistic citizens. Some authors posit that the Mexicans' work ethic, family structure, and communal solidarity bode well for the success of many immigrants, although the jury is still out. The collected stories provide strong evidence that these economic migrants are pursuing the American dream, notwithstanding their struggles to maintain links to their homelands and celebrate their cultural identities.