Tag Archives: identity

The Burguesia Chola and the changing cityscapes of El Alto and La Paz

Dr. Kate Maclean
Lecturer in Geography at Birkbeck, University of London
Thursday 11 February 2016 at 18:30
Joint presentation with
the Institute of Latin American Studies
Bedford Room (G37), Senate House, Malet Street, WC1E 7HU Tickets: Non-members £8, Members £6, Students (with valid ID) £5 Refreshments included.
For booking email:  anglobolivian@gmail.com

Explosions of colour and the uniquely vivid Andean symbology woven into the architecture herald the rise of the socalled ‘chola bourgeoisie’ – the ‘new rich’ of El Alto and the north of La Paz, who have made their money in commerce, often informally.  In addition to the spectacular architecture, El Alto also now boasts luxury hotels and some of the most expensive property in the country.  Mobility between the two cities is also changing, as the ‘new rich’ seek property in the more salubrious areas of La Paz, such as La Zona Sur.  The development of new urban transport networks – the cable car and Puma bus – have opened up new connections in the city that are changing culture and identity, and transforming social divisions that are centuries old.  In this talk, Kate Maclean reports back on the first stage of her Leverhulme project on the changing cityscapes of El Alto and La Paz.  She will look at particular examples of the dramatic changes to the urban and cultural landscape in the two cities, and discuss reasons for the rise of the ‘chola bourgeoisie’.

Katari and the Seacoast during the Bolivian Gas War

Sue Iamamoto

PhD Candidate, School of Politics and International Relations

Queen Mary University of London

Capes / Brazil

Thursday 19 March 18:30

Joint presentation with the

Institute of Latin American Studies

Torrington Room (104), First Floor

Senate House, Malet Street, WC1E 7HU

Glass of wine, refreshments and nibbles included

                       Send email for booking at anglobolivian@gmail.com                       

Eleven years ago, in September / October 2003, a powerful social mobilisation paralysed Bolivia to demand nationalisation of natural gas. The setting for this struggle was mainly the highland provinces of the department of La Paz and the city of El Alto, overlooking the seat of the government of La Paz. After more than 50 protestors were killed by the army, President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada resigned on 17 October 2003. This presentation will focus on the power of collective memories during these days, more specifically how the protestors incorporated narratives of two particular events: the anti-colonial rebellion of Tupac Katari in 1781 and the War of the Pacific in 1879-1880, in which Bolivia lost its seacoast. These collective memories were entangled with the protestors´ national and ethnic identities and were central to frame and make sense of new political projects for Bolivia’s future.