Associate Professor of History
University of Wisconsin-Madison, PhD 1996
King Juan Carlos Center, Room 414
Field of Study:
Latin America and the Carribbean
Areas of Research/Interest:
Colonial Latin America; Andean region; peasant and Indian politics; Andean religion; race/ethnicity; historical imagination and political memory; Bolivian history and politics.
Before coming to NYU, Sinclair Thomson lived and worked for a number of years in Bolivia, at a time when impressive Indian and peasant political mobilization was under way. His book, We Alone Will Rule, looks at Indian and peasant politics and anticolonial insurgency in the eighteenth-century Andes. The transformations in community political organization at that time shaped the present nature of Indian communities, and the struggles to end Spanish domination have inspired current popular movements. He was present in Bolivia in 2003 and 2005, at times of major indigenous and popular insurrection reminiscent of the uprisings in the eighteenth century. With Forrest Hylton, he wrote Revolutionary Horizons to understand Bolivia’s contemporary conflicts in a deeper historical light. His current research explores the subsequent repercussions of the revolution of Tupaj Katari and Tupaj Amaru in 1780-1781. This work considers the struggle over the meaning and memory of the experience in the 1780s, the spread of news in Latin America and the Atlantic world, the lessons drawn from the episode in the independence era, and the ways in which the revolution has lived on in collective memory and myth in the Andean countries until the present.
The Bolivia Reader: History, Culture, Politics. Co-edited with Xavier Albó, Rossana Barragán, Mark Goodale, and Seemin Qayum. Duke University Press, in progress.
Revolutionary Horizons: Past and Present in Bolivian Politics. Co-authored with Forrest Hylton. London: Verso 2007.
Ya es otro tiempo el presente: Cuatro momentos de insurgencia indígena. Co-authored with Forrest Hylton, Felix Patzi, and Sergio Serulnikov, with introduction by Thomson and Hylton, and prologue by Adolfo Gilly. La Paz: Muela del Diablo, 2003.
We Alone Will Rule: Native Andean Politics in the Age of Insurgency. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2002.
“Was There Race in Colonial Latin America?: Identifying Selves and Others in the Insurgent Andes.” In Laura Gotkowitz, ed., Indigeneity in the Andes and Mesoamerica, forthcoming from Duke University Press.
“¿‘Serpiente resplandeciente’ o ‘monstruo de la humanidad’?: Tupaj Katari y las comunidades aymaras de La Paz.” In Adolfo Gilly and Rhina Roux, comps., Miradas sobre la historia. Mexico City: Ediciones Era, 2011.
“La descolonización de la memoria: El cuerpo reconstituido de Tupaj Katari.” In Maya Aguiluz Ibargüen and Pablo Lazo Briones, coords., Corporalidades. Mexico City: UNAM and Universidad Iberoamericana, 2010.
“El reencabezamiento: Impactos, lecciones y memorias de la insurrección amarista/katarista en la independencia andina. (Los itinerarios de Juan Pablo Viscardo y Guzmán y Vicente Pazos Kanki).” In Rossana Barragán, ed., De juntas, guerrillas, héroes y conmemoraciones. La Paz: Alcaldía de La Paz, 2010.
"The Chequered Rainbow." Co-authored with Forrest Hylton. New Left Review, September-October 2005.
“Revolutionary Memory in Bolivia: Anticolonial and National Projects from 1781 to 1952.” In Merilee Grindle and Pilar Domingo, eds., Proclaiming the Revolution: Bolivia in Comparative Perspective. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003.
“‘We Alone Will Rule...’: Recovering the Range of Anticolonial Projects among Andean Peasants (La Paz, 1740s to 1781).” Colonial Latin American Review 8 (2): 275-299, 1999.