The Other Side of Bolivian Modernity. “Vuelve Sebastiana” and the Reconfiguration of Space-Time Coordinates to Think the Nation


  • Jaime Omar Salinas Zabalaga Villanova University



Bolivian cinema, indigenism, Jorge Ruiz, MNR, national imaginary, National Revolution of 1952, Vuelve Sebastiana


This article discusses the film Vuelve Sebastiana (1953) by Jorge Ruiz, focusing on its ideological and aesthetic aspects. The analysis establishes connections between the idea of “nation” in the context of cultural transformation prompted by the economic and social policies of the National Revolution of 1952 and the way the Chipaya community is represented. The central argument is that "Vuelve Sebastiana" can be read not only in relation to the new national identity but as an expression of a new national imaginary regarding the indigenous communities of the Altiplano. The author proposes that "Vuelve Sebastiana" represents the nation through the temporal and spatial cartographies of a modern nation-building project, making visible some of its tensions and contradictions and allowing us to explore the imaginary that has redefined the relationship between the State and the indigenous communities of the Altiplano throughout the  second half of the 20th century.

Author Biography

Jaime Omar Salinas Zabalaga, Villanova University

Jaime Omar Salinas Zabalaga received his PhD in Latin American cultures and literature in August 2016 from The Ohio State University. His dissertation titled “The emergence of the popular in the building of the nation” explores the different ways in which popular culture was made visible during Bolivia’s nation-building process. His teaching and research interests range widely, from Latin American 19th-century literature to Latin American 20th century and contemporary literature and cinema.