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The aesthetics of 'time-reckoning' : a Guna chromatic history.

Fortis, P. (2019) 'The aesthetics of 'time-reckoning' : a Guna chromatic history.', Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (incorporating Man)., 25 (3). pp. 441-466.


This is a study of time and aesthetics through an ethnographic analysis of an indigenous visual system. Looking at historical changes in women's clothing and village patterns among Guna people (Panama), the article shows that images and artefacts are key to shedding light on indigenous historicities. Core visual and material processes encapsulate and manifest biographical and group time. By the same token, such processes provide a privileged perspective to consider how present‐day social relations are the product of long‐term historical transformations. The analysis draws on the relatively overlooked notion of ‘chromatism’ developed by Lévi‐Strauss and subsequently elaborated by Lima as ‘chromatic sociality’. It proposes that ‘chromatism’ is an indigenous category that allows for reckoning with the passing of time and the shifting circumstances of history.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:This is the accepted version of the following article: Fortis, P (2019). The aesthetics of 'time-reckoning': a Guna chromatic history. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (incorporating Man) 25(3): 441-466, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Date accepted:09 April 2019
Date deposited:18 April 2019
Date of first online publication:21 June 2019
Date first made open access:21 June 2021

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