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Revista Brasileira de História da Educação

versão impressa ISSN 1519-5902versão On-line ISSN 2238-0094

Rev. Bras. Hist. Educ vol.21  Maringá  2021  Epub 11-Jan-2021 


The Journal Amauta (1926-1930): study of a Latin American educational tribune

Kildo Adevair dos Santos1  *

Dalila Andrade Oliveira1

Danilo Romeu Streck2

1Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brasil.

2Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos, São Leopoldo, RS, Brasil.


Abstract: This article analyzes the journal Amauta (1926-1930), edited by the Peruvian thinker José Carlos Mariátegui, presenting its main contributions to strengthening emancipatory educational processes in Latin America. The study was developed by means of qualitative data collection methods, as well as bibliographic and documentary research techniques. The results of the investigation point out the originality of Amauta’s epistemological proposal, as well as its contributions to the Latin American pedagogy, from a perspective that values cultural identity by taking into account the educational spaces themselves. The analysis highlights the following aspects: education of indigenous people; educational theory; teaching and teachers’ organizational action; organization of education; and student movement and university.

Keywords: Mariátegui; emancipation; Latin American pedagogy


O artigo analisa a revista Amauta (1926-1930), editada pelo pensador peruano José Carlos Mariátegui, apresentando suas principais contribuições para o fortalecimento dos processos educacionais emancipatórios da América Latina. O estudo foi desenvolvido por métodos qualitativos de coleta de dados e técnicas de pesquisa bibliográfica e documental. Os resultados da investigação apontam a originalidade da proposta epistemológica de Amauta, assim como suas contribuições para a pedagogia latino-americana, numa perspectiva que valoriza a identidade cultural a partir dos próprios espaços educativos. A análise destaca os seguintes aspectos: educação dos indígenas; teoria educacional; docência e ação organizativa dos professores; organização da educação; e movimento estudantil e universidade.

Palavras-chave: Mariátegui; emancipação; pedagogia latino-americana


El artículo analiza la revista Amauta (1926-1930), editada por el pensador peruano José Carlos Mariátegui, presentando sus principales aportes al fortalecimiento de los procesos educativos emancipatorios en América Latina. El estudio fue desarrollado por métodos cualitativos de recolección de datos y tecnicas de investigación bibliográfica y documental. Los resultados de la investigación apuntan a la originalidad de la propuesta epistemológica de Amauta, así como a sus aportes a la pedagogía latinoamericana, en una perspectiva que valora la identidad cultural desde los propios espacios educativos. El análisis destaca los siguientes aspectos: educación de los pueblos indígenas; teoría educativa; enseñanza y acción organizativa de docentes; organización de la educación; y movimiento estudiantil y universidad.

Palabras clave: Mariátegui; emancipación; pedagogía latinoamericana


This article aims to analyze the journal Amauta18 (1926-1930) and present its main contributions to strengthening emancipatory educational processes in Latin America. The study seeks to emphasize the importance of said publication not only for its value as a documentary source of a time, but also for representing the political and cultural project of the Peruvian thinker José Carlos Mariátegui (1894-1930), who made this journal one of the main Latin American educational platforms.

The intellectual effort of reflecting upon Latin America by considering its own history is a challenge for the Latin American critical thinking, and we understand that, since the 1920s, Mariátegui has been an important source, as he is one of the most influential Peruvian intellectuals of the 20th century. During his short existence, he produced an extensive written, editorial and political work, namely: the journal Nuestra Época (1918); the newspaper La Razón (1919); the journal Amauta (1926-1930); and the newspaper Labor (1929); besides having been the director of the journal Claridad (1923-1924). His written work is published in 20 tomes, with the book Seven Interpretive Essays on Peruvian Reality being the most edited one. Mariátegui also founded the Peruvian Socialist Party (1928) and the Workers General Confederation of Peru (1929). His ideas guided the most well-known theoretical approaches of the social sciences in Latin America, such as the Philosophy of Liberation (Salazar Bondy, 1995), the Dependency Theory (Marini, 2000), the Theology of Liberation (Gutiérrrez, 2000), the Pedagogy of the Oppressed (MazziHuaycucho, 2007), and the Decolonial approach (Quijano, 1986).

The influences and confluences of Mariátegui’s thinking in Latin American approaches bear witness to his importance for the development of a social and critical thinking in the region. We understand that going back to his thinking is relevant in the current scenario and, for this reason, we highlight, from the journal Amauta, his contributions to strengthening the Latin American pedagogical thinking, as well as to the emancipatory processes of Latin America.

The study was developed through qualitative data collection methods, which used technical procedures from the bibliographic and documentary research modalities. For data treatment, we chose content analysis. The data collection activities started with conversations (Certeau, 1994) with teachers and researchers of Mariátegui’s work, which provided us with a clearer direction in the searches for the material, which were conducted in the main libraries of Lima, Peru. We selected works referring to Mariátegui’s production, namely: 1) the journal Nuestra Época (1918), the newspaper La Razón (1919), the journal Claridad (1923-1924), the journal Amauta (1926-1930) and the newspaper Labor (1928-1929). The journal Amauta was chosen as the object of this study for being Mariátegui’s editorial work with the greatest reach in Latin America and with the greatest recognition in Peruvian historiography, which will be presented and analyzed further on in a specific section.

We selected the 32 issues of the journal Amauta, published from 1926 to 1930. The search activities in this archive resulted in a dataset (88 texts with educational content), which was subjected to skimming, so that a pre-analysis was performed, followed by the exploration of the material, the definition of themes, the identification of record units and context units in the documents, with a view to treating, interpreting and inferring on results.

The research was developed from the perspective of the Latin American critical thinking - [...] the one who has been claiming our historical journey in the face of Eurocentric schemes, and has been systematically seeking to strengthen our identity, questioning the conservative thinking created by the central powers of capitalism (Sader, 2008, p. 9) -, which goes beyond economic relations, considering the interconnections between the historical, political, social and cultural realms.

In addition to this introduction, the article presents a brief literature review, bringing studies on the journal Amauta into a historical perspective. Subsequently, the study brings an analysis of the journal Amauta, identifying texts with educational content. Then, the article presents the analyses of said texts, in which it seeks to identify their contributions to strengthening emancipatory educational processes in Latin America. Finally, the study presents some general considerations.

The journal Amauta from a historical perspective: a brief literature review

In this section, we present, from a historical perspective, a brief review of the literature about some of the most commented studies on the journal Amauta, with the purpose of indicating the creation of a trend towards the analyses of the cultural aspects surrounding the themes published on the pages of the journal due to its close relationship with the education theme.

Studies on the journal Amauta started with Tauro Del Pino (1960), with the publishing of his book Amautay suinfluencia, in which the author organizes the journal thematically. The contributions of this study are relevant because they make it possible to understand Amauta’s origin and objectives, as well as its biography and bibliographic physiognomy, pointing to ways for the conduction of more specific studies on the themes of the journal.

The works of Falcón (1979), Chavarría (1979), MesseguerIllán (1974) and Baines (1972) had the journal Amauta as the object of their reflections to discuss the controversy between Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre19 and José Carlos Mariátegui. This debate constitutes an important chapter in the history of the political ideas of the 20thcentury and is part of the class struggle that gradually took shape in Peru. Said conflict goes beyond the tactical problems concerning the party20 and expresses the opposition between the programmatic alternatives of two classes, as to both the concept of Peruvian society and the character of the revolution, with the latter being understood, on the one hand, as the petite bourgeoisie’s national democratic reformist process and, on the other hand, as the proletariat’s revolutionary socialist process (Cotler, 2014).

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Goloboff (1983), Alcibíades (1982), Núñez (1979) and Wise (1978) conducted their studies. These works brought interpretations of the journal Amauta from a perspective that emphasized the cultural aspect. These authors discussed artistic and literary ideas, the indigenous theme, in addition to the impact that Amauta had on the cultural formation of the Peruvian society. In this same context, the reflections of Flores Galindo (1980) in the book La agonía de Mariátegui: la polemica con la Komintern, stood out; in it, the author recovers the image of the journal as a collective task, representing the voice of a generation.

The study conducted by Wise (1987) brought important contributions to the interpretation of the journal Amauta by pointing it out as a true source for the Peruvian cultural history. Goicochea’s study (1993) also presented the journal Amauta as Mariátegui’s cultural project, in which the author articulated the Peruvian culture, bringing together intellectuals from different regions and with different interests, but who had a common characteristic: the search for the new and for alternatives to resolve the national issue. Theoretically, the articulation of the Peruvian culture was achieved through the exercise of rethinking Peru from a forgotten perspective, that of the Indian.

The recent literature has studies that highlight the project of the journal Amauta with regard to its influence on the organizational processes of workers; on the perspective of the inclusion of women in the cultural and political spaces of Latin American societies; and on the aim of questioning the Eurocentric epistemology in the social sciences, which was dominant in the intellectual and political scenario of the 1920s (MazziHuaycucho, 2017; Guardia, 2017; Germaná, 2017).

It is evident that the journal Amauta influenced the Peruvian press, especially that which covered the workers’ agenda. Specifically, this publication impacted the mining press of Morococha, Peruvian city, between the years 1926 and 1930, where Mariátegui spread his revolutionary ideas, contributing to the emergence of a new type of working class, which gradually distanced itself from anarchist and unionist influences and embraced the ideas of the revolutionary unionism (MazziHuaycucho, 2017; Sobrevilla, 2012).

Guardias study (2017) indicates that the journal Amauta represented the most advanced expression of Mariáteguis thinking, and such expressiveness made way for women to publish in the journal. Outstanding female voices include: Ángela Ramos (1926) and Dora Mayer de Zulen (1927), who criticized the patriarchal and sentimental education of Peruvian women; Miguelina Acosta Cárdenas (1928), who criticized the situation of exploitation and misery in which Peruvian indigenous people lived; Judith Arias and Cesar Acurio (1929), Gabriela Mistral (1927) and María Wiesse (1927), who defended education for children as a possibility of social transformation; Mary González (1929) and María Augusta Arana (1928), who defended the participation of women in the organizations of union fights against laws that oppressed the female proletariat; and Magda Portal (1927), a prominent poet and political activist.

As for questioning the modern Eurocentric rationality, Germaná’s study (2017) indicates that it was through the project of the journal Amauta that Mariátegui developed his analyses of the Peruvian reality, debating with the Marxism-Leninism of the Third Communist International the radical nationalism of Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre, and the ‘criolla-oligárquica’ intellectuality. This way, Germaná (2017) explores some of Amauta’s epistemological orientations that take, though in an incipient manner, the journal as a source of the perspective of the decoloniality of knowledge.

The literature review shows the efforts of many researchers who dedicated themselves to studying the journal Amauta and, supported on important documentary investigations, published their studies. These publications went beyond the theoretical and political discussions that predominated in the Mariateguian studies and addressed the cultural aspects, still little investigated, about Mariátegui’s work.

However, no studies on the educational theme were found on the journal’s pages. We therefore understand that the present study can contribute to filling this gap.

Amauta: a cultural and scientific journal

In Latin America, the 1920s saw a proliferation of artistic-literary and political journals of an avant-garde type, of short duration and with limited issues. The literary, artistic and political movements in the region were disseminated mainly through these publications, among which the following stood out: Repertorio Americano (1919-1958), from Costa Rica; Martin Fierro (1924-1930), from Argentina; Claridad (1926-1941), from Argentina; Amauta (1926-1930), from Peru; RevistaAvance (1927-1930), from Cuba; and Contemporáneos: Revista Mexicana de Cultura (1928-1931).

In the Peruvian context, the journal Amauta was contemporary with several others, such as Variedades (1908-1932); MecurioPeruano (1918-1931); Mundial (1920-1931); Flechas (1924); Trampolín-Hangay-Rascacielos (1926-1927); Poliedro (1926); Guerrilla (1927); La Sierra (1927-1930); Nueva Revista Peruana (1929-1930). They all circulated in the city of Lima, and some shared points of contact with the themes of the journal Amauta. Also noteworthy were the journals originating from the southern region of the Andes, especially Kosko and Kuntur (1927), from Cusco, and BoletínTitikaka (1926-1930), from the city of Puno.

In this set of journals, Amauta stood out for its literary quality, its interpretive tendency based on historical materialism, and for being a non-dogmatic publication, being considered as one of the most representative of the time (Carter, 1968).

The journal Amauta is considered to have represented a movement, a renewal current in the Peruvian and Latin American intellectual field.

We wanted ‘Amauta’ to have a national, organic, autonomous and individual development. For this reason, we started looking for its title in the Peruvian tradition. ‘Amauta’ should not be plagiarism or a translation. We took an Inka word to create it again. So that the indigenous Peru, the indigenous America, could feel that this journal was theirs. And we present ‘Amauta’ as the voice of a movement and of a generation (Mariátegui, 1928, p. 1, authors emphasis, our translation).21

According to Mariátegui (1926), Amauta was planned to be a journal with content, distinguishing in the Peruvian context of the time, in which labels and rhetoric predominated. This statement could be a strategy to win readers over, in a context of emergence of other journals. According to Mariátegui (1926, p. 1, our translation)22, the publication aimed to

identify, clarify and learn about Peruvian problems from doctrinal and scientific points of view. But we will always consider Peru within the world panorama. We will study all major renewal movements - political, philosophical, artistic, literary, scientific. Everything that is human is ours. This journal will link the new men of Peru first to those of the other peoples of America, then to those of the other peoples of the world [...].

The structure of the journal Amauta varied depending on the different moments, times and stages that it spanned. During these processes, it published articles in a variety of fields of knowledge, and education appeared as an important theme in the publication’s project.

Amauta can be characterized by its broad profile, not restricted to a dogmatic proposal. Its project was to express an alternative thinking to face the oligarchic cultural tradition that dominated cultural centers and the Peruvian society. Throughout its journey, it had different emphases, which we identified in the three stages presented below.

Amauta’s editions (issues 1 to 16) had 44 pages; issues 17 to 30 had 104. Issues 31 and 32, in their turn, were 84 pages long. All issues of the journal brought on its pages reproductions of pictorial works and illustrations. The publication was also composed of these sections: El proceso del gamonalismo, Vida económica, Panorama móvil and Livros y Revistas. The journal’s editions (issues 1 to 16) were also sold for 0.40 cents, and those referring to issues 17 to 32, for 0.80 cents (Tauro del Pino, 1960).

The Amauta’s editions that go from issue one to nine (from September 1926 to September 1928) can be considered as a first stage, which was characterized by its breadth as to the themes concerning debates, criticisms and analyses involving the Peruvian reality. In this first stage, subjects such as art, poetry, literature, education and languages in general stood out, which did not mean an abandonment of political discussions, as shown by the anti-imperialist articles published in its ninth edition (Martínez de la Torre, 1930).

Amauta’s second stage marked the beginning of a new journey and of a new work model. The journal became a factor of political orientation for workers. In September 1928, Mariátegui proclaimed that Amauta was ceasing to be the new generation’s journal to become a socialist journal. “The first stage of ‘Amauta’ is over. In the second stage, it no longer needs to be called a ‘new generation’, ‘vanguard’, ‘leftist’ journal. To be faithful to the Revolution, it is enough to be a socialist journal” (Mariátegui, 1928, p. 2, author’s emphasis, our translation).23

This new definition constituted a turning point in the type of editorial policy, which generated transformations in the journal’s structure. In this second stage, Amauta became a path through which a political platform and a new country project were driven, following the directions of socialism. In the editorial Aniversario y Balance, issue 17 of the journal, Mariátegui (1928, p. 1, our translation)24 stated that

Amauta is neither entertainment nor a game of intellectuals: it professes a historical faith, confesses an active and multitudinous faith, obeys a contemporary social movement. In the conflict between two systems, between two ideas, it does not occur to us to feel like spectators or to invent a third term [...]. On our flag, we inscribe this single, simple and grand word: Socialism [...].

As of the publishing of the tenth to the 29th issue, Amauta would develop a debate between the indigenous, radical nationalist and socialist concepts, until adopting a revolutionary policy with the aim of developing an approach that pointed to the construction of an Indo-American socialism (Löwy, 2005), by means of a line of thought that would lay the foundations of a Latin American Marxism (Löwy, 2016).

Amauta’s third stage can be understood in the publications of its last three issues, after Mariátegui’s death in April 1930. This stage is characterized by attempts to continue the previous stage, under the direction of Ricardo Martínez de la Torre.

However, the journal published its last issue (32) in August/September of 1930. This fact is related to the death of Mariátegui, the main reference for the operation of the journal; to the change in its content (influence of the Third Communist International), which caused the distancing of some close collaborators and a rupture of relations with foreign intellectuals; and to the economic crisis that affected advertisers (PortocarreroGrados, 1996). For Quijano (1994), Amauta’s last issue was marked by texts in which the central ideas contradicted the essential principles that Mariátegui had taught, given that Ricardo Martínez de la Torre chose to walk other ways, that is, guided by orthodox Marxism.

Mariátegui, by means of the journal Amauta, proposed himself to expand the Peruvian cultural field and gain space and public towards building a new Peru. This project, based on the political and cultural statutes of socialism, was a task that should fight against the political authoritarianism of the governing aristocracy and the miseries to which indigenous people, peasants and workers were subjected.

Amauta wanted the new Latin American individual to be represented in a cultural and political project whose purpose was to generate critical and collective awareness, and to recover the historical meaning of the native Peruvian individual, through the pages of the journal. Chart 1 gathers the addressed themes with their respective issues and the texts referring to them, all organized during the skimming process.

Source: The authors

Chart 1 Themes and number of texts published in the journal Amauta (1926-1930) 

Regarding the themes involving art, poetry, short stories, novels and literature, Amauta published 310 texts on the specific Peruvian context; 132 of them referred to Latin American contexts; and 73 encompassed European, Asian and US contexts, which indicated Mariátegui’s local, regional and global view.

As for the 43 Peruvian authors who published in Amauta, we mention those who wrote most frequently: Antenor Orrego, Dora Mayer de Zulen, Mariátegui, Ricardo Martínez de la Torre and Victor Raúl Haya de la Torre. They focused their reflections on themes such as Indians, Latin America, imperialism, art, capitalism, thinking and education. Concerning European authors, they directed their discussions to themes such as psychoanalysis, art and society, Marxism, and the Chinese and Russian revolutions. Latin American authors geared their analysis towards subjects such as the State, the Church, the Mexican revolution and the university reform. Thus, we consider that Amauta consolidated itself in a plural space for production of cultural and scientific knowledge, being characterized as an open journal and, above all, one averse to dogmatism.

The organization by themes and number of texts published in Amauta, presented in Chart 1, shows the education field as the third theme most published in the journal, a significant frequency that led to the creation of an analysis category, indicating the importance of the theme for Mariátegui. Amauta wanted the Peruvian education to abandon the elitist and dogmatic educational model that had been conducted by the ruling political class. The journal provided a space for discussing and evaluating the methods, guidelines and educational theories that the governing class defended, and stimulated the analysis and criticism of educational levels in Peru and in some countries in the region.

Amauta set education as an important theme in the construction of the project for developing a new Peruvian and Latin American national identity. Mariátegui, while directing the journal Amauta, played an important guiding role concerning the educational issue at all levels, anda greater interest in the processes involving the fight for university reform stayedat the center of this debate (Melis, 1999). Table 1 shows the frequency of articles on education published in each of the journal’s issue.

Table 1 Number of articles on education published in Amauta (1926-1930). 

Year Volume Number of articles
I 1 3
I 2 3
I 3 3
I 4 1
II 5 3
II 6 5
II 7 4
II 8 4
II 9 2
II 10 5
III 11 3
III 12 10
III 13 1
III 14 4
III 15 2
III 16 3
III 17 2
III 18 2
III 19 3
III 20 2
IV 21 2
IV 22 3
IV 23 3
IV 24 4
IV 25 -
IV 26 2
IV 27 2
V 28 -
V 29 1
V 30 2
V 31 1
V 32 3
Total - 88

Source: The authors

The articles on the educational theme published in Amauta make up a set of 88 texts25, which were distributed in the 32 issues of the journal, all published from September 1926 to September 1930. Texts on education were not found in only two editions (issues 25 and 28).

The male and female authors of the texts on education in the journal Amauta composed a group of 48 people and nine institutions (associations, federations and organizations). Of the total number of people who wrote in the journal, 20% were foreigners, belonging to the Latin American region (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Uruguay and Venezuela). As for the European region, there were authors from Germany, Spain and Russia.

Other Amauta’s collaborators were national authors from different regions of the country (Arequipa, Ayacucho, Cajamarca, Cusco, Puno, Trujillo), with highlight to Carlos Velásquez, Miguelina Acosta Cárdenas and Luis Enrique Galván, for publishing more frequently in the journal. The authors constituted a network of collaborators, from a perspective of diversified interests, as they represented different regional realities and, at the same time, enabled discussions for the formation of a Peruvian nationality.

The women who published texts on the educational theme in the journal Amauta were Gabriela Mistral, Maria Judith Arias, Maria Wiesse and Miguelina Acosta Cárdenas. The Chilean educator Gabriela Mistral defended, on the journal’s pages, the principles of the new education linked to the principles of Christianity. Maria Judith Arias dedicated herself to indigenous education through the La escuelaHogar project, which consisted of meeting the particularities of the indigenous people by taking their own circumstances into account. Regarding Maria Wiesse, the Peruvian author contributed to Amauta with her texts focusing on the education of young children and the importance of fantasy in the educational process. Miguelina Acosta Cárdenas also dedicated herself to the education of indigenous children through the proposal of the Rural Itinerant Schools.

These male and female authors were journalists, lawyers, artists, educators and writers who used varied writing forms, among which chronicles, essays and opinion articles stood out, in a mixture of academic, scientific and journalistic language. The target audiences of these authors were teachers and professors, intellectuals, students, union leaders, peasants and workers in general.

Amauta became a Peruvian platform that allowed a network of intellectuals from the provinces to be in constant connection with Lima’s intellectuality. Said network made it possible to learn about those realities and, mainly, brought important themes, such as the problem of the Indian (marginalized in the provinces), to the center of the discussion at the national level. Amauta was distributed in almost all capitals of the Peruvian provinces by means of its agents and collaborators, as in the cases of Cusco, Huaraz, Chiclayo, Arequipa and Trujillo, reaching intellectuals, peasants, workers and the people in general.

The journal also became a Latin American platform, building an educational base composed of countries such as Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico and Uruguay, allowing an exchange of information and knowledge. In addition, it made way for publications by trade unions and of Latin American themes, such as the university reform, the Mexican revolution, the discussions on the new law in Argentina, as well as the educational struggles of the Chilean Teachers Association.

The texts that form the educational theme in the journal Amauta had among its main subjects the education of indigenous people; the educational theory; teaching and teachers’ organizational action; organization of education; and the student movement and the university, which will be covered in the next section.

The educational theme in the journal Amauta: contributions to latin american emancipatory processes

The education of indigenous people

The texts published in the journal Amauta, which addressed the education of indigenous people, criticize classic educational models aimed at book knowledge. They focused their criticisms on the trend that provided an education that did not dialogue with the realities of indigenous communities, represented by government actions and some philanthropic initiatives, such as the experiences of the indigenous boarding schools of the Salesian groups (Acurio& Arias, 1929).

This critical perspective appeared in most of the texts that sought to introduce new alternatives for the construction and development of an educational model capable of understanding the realities of indigenous life. In this sense, the creation of a system for traveling male and female teachers was proposed, in the context of the Escuelas rurales ambulantes, for the education of children, in which teachers should be prepared to experience the daily lives of indigenous communities (Acosta Cárdenas, 1929).

Amauta also published a model of indigenous education based on Mexican educational experiences, in which the education of the Indian was developed in accordance with the principles of a rural education, arguing that, in agricultural countries, such as Mexico, it “[...] would reveal an absurd mental colonialism, the introduction of good educational systems for the citizens” (Cox, 1928, p. 15, our translation).26

The educational experience presented in Amauta by Acurio and Arias (1929), named La escuelaHogar, consisted of meeting the needs and particularities of the indigenous people by taking into account their own circumstances. This proposal criticized the itinerant-school model, as the latter presented a hasty educational model unable to delve into the reality of childrens lives. For the authors “[...] a school for the Indian has to live with them persistently, has to interpret their actions and feelings, and this work is not done in a few days, but in many years” (Acurio& Arias, 1929, p. 29, our translation).27

Amauta also presented the contribution of the Peruvian educator José Antonio Encinas, who would state that the education of the Indian should be concomitant with the economic problem, which, in its turn, was directly related to the matter of land. Thus, Encinas (1930, p. 76) proposed the Escuela con tierra propia motto. This school, also called social school, could transform the condition of the Indian, as it considered their life comprehensively.

We understand that Amauta denounced the state educational programs that did not consider indigenous people as equal Peruvians, characterizing them as an ‘inferior race’, showing, through their conscious stance, that the organization of the Peruvian Republic was not at all different from the colonial system. The texts in Amauta defended an education capable of understanding and dialoguing with the realities of the indigenous communities, meeting their needs and particularities, with the aim of building and developing a community school, comprehending that the education of the Indian was related to the economic and, above all, to the land issue.

This way, Amauta was a space in which criticism came along with proposals that valued the culture and knowledge of indigenous peoples. It is evident in the discussions that this is a complex matter for which there is also no simple and single answer, given the diversity of the indigenous peoples themselves and the ties established with other cultures in the region.

Educational theory

The journal Amauta presented discussions around the main theoretical trends of the time. The inaugural text on this theme defended the project of a new education, based on an educational concept that proposed that the school should revolve around the interests of children, and emphasize the psychological aspects of teaching and the humanization of didactics. This proposal has as foundation the experiences of the so-called active schools and experimental schools of “Dewey, Merriam, Causinet, Sary, Montessori, Decroly, Claparéde, Lunacharsky, Kerschensteiner, Tagore, etc.” (Velasquez, 1926, p. 25).

The new-education perspective defended the need to develop an educational process based on the assumptions of scientific investigation, seeking contributions from a variety of areas of knowledge. It was in this context that Mistral (1927) introduced his ideas on the ‘new school’ for Latin America, proposing a school with a social, public and scientific bias that guaranteed the rights of children. For Mistral (1927, p. 6, our translation)28, “[...] the new school [...] is a spiritual creation and can only be made by new men and women”.

Amauta discussed the educational problems of its time, focusing on pedagogy and culture, presenting contributions from the neo-Herbartian current, emphasizing the ideas of Natorp’s social pedagogy, as well as Kerschenteiner’s and Dewey’s ideas. It also reflected upon Maria Montessori’s writings, discussed the ideas of the ‘pedagogy of values’, as well as of the ‘pedagogy of personality’ (Mantovani, 1928). It also highlighted the contributions of the ‘Italian pedagogical idealism’, based on Benedetto Croce’s and Giovanni Gentile’s thinking, a theoretical current that represented a reaction to the pedagogical positivism of the time (Mantovani, 1928).

The journal brought to its audience theoretical knowledge about childhood and reflections on the importance of fantasy and imagination for the educational process (Wiesse, 1927). It presented discussions around the school and religion themes, criticizing the educational proposals of the bourgeoisie that historically used religion as an ideological platform to disseminate their political interests (Hierl, 1930).

Moreover, it published the theoretical educational principles of the Auto-educaciónobrera, organized by the InternacionalSindicalRoja, a strategy to improve the knowledge of the workers whose concrete experience was acquired in Russia, before the Revolution. The journal also spread the ‘Proletarian Pedagogy’ principles of the Internacional de Trabajadores de la Enseñanza (1930), which fought for real pedagogy in the context of the social classes.

Amauta presented José Martí’s theoretical and educational ideas, considering him as a revolutionary educator in the region (Foncueva, 1928). This connection is particularly relevant for the pedagogical construction in Latin America (Streck, Moretti, & Adams, 2019; Streck, 2010), as it identifies a historical path founded on principles of emancipation and social justice, which values the knowledge of the local culture, but is open to a range of theoretical interlocutions, from social pedagogy and the new-school movement to socialist and proletarian pedagogy.

Thus, we understand that Amauta published proposals for a new education based on scientific methods and on new teaching and learning processes, with an emphasis on philosophical, psychological, sociological, aesthetic knowledge, and with a social bias that defends the rights of children and culture. This educational proposal, at the same time, would oppose to a religious and classist educational trend that reproduced the interests of the ruling classes. From this perspective, Amauta presented the educational proposal of the Oficinas de auto-educaciónto develop practices involving independent activities, besides insisting on the need for access to cultural processes for workers, as it understood that culture was a strong instrument of political domination.

Teaching and teachers’ organizational action

The journal Amauta has always made room for the most prominent reflections of the time to present the realities concerning the matters of Latin American teaching. In said spaces, the teaching profession was thought of and presented as an important action in the fight against imperialism and in the possible transformation and emancipation of the region. The teaching analyses published by Amauta brought revolutionary, reformist, progressive and idealistic perspectives.

From a critical point of view, Amauta argued that the teaching profession should ensure economic independence, as it would be the source for other types of independence, as the CovenciónInternacional de Maestrosadvised. It criticized the government for not being aware that investing in the training and career of teachers was as important as spending on national security, since the government overestimated the army at the expense of teaching (Urquieta, 1928).

Amauta published the events of teachers organizations in the Latin American region, such as the first and second International Teachers Convention, in Buenos Aires and Montevideo, respectively, and the National Convention of Argentinian Teachers, held in Córdoba. The Buenos Aires Teachers International Convention was represented by the best renewal forces on the continent, with the participation of teachers from Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, Guatemala, Bolivia and Argentina (Delafuente, 1928).

In the text that presented the message from theTeaching Workers International[Internacional de los Trabajadores de la Enseñanza] (ITE) to the National Convention of Argentinian Teachers, gathered in Córdoba, the journal Amauta highlighted the importance of teachers union organization, and denounced the lack of policies on educational funding, career and wages, as well as gender issues and the working conditions of teachers.

With the text by the American Teaching International [Internacional del Magisterio Americano] (IMA), the journal denounced the brutal persecution of Chilean teachers who headed the Teachers General Association and others who did not share the ideas of the dictatorship in the country. As an action to help teachers, the IMA recommended:

1st Denounce, by means of the press and other elements of communication, the violent measures to which Chilean educators are subjected; 2nd Carry out acts of protest against the perpetrators of the persecutions, and in favor of the victims; 3rd Denounce the Dictatorship and condemn it as well as its diplomatic agents abroad; 4th Work for the expatriation of teachers declared unemployed; 5th Communicate the IMA about all approved resolutions (Internacional del Magisterio Americano, 1929, p. 81-82, our translation).29

Amauta was committed to disseminating the struggle in favor of the movements of Latin American teachers, making way for their demands, their events and their goal of constructing other educational processes for the region. To this end, it defended economic independence as a possibility for teaching as a duly recognized profession in society, highlighted the importance of union organization and denounced the lack of policies on funding and teaching career.

Organization of education

The set of texts on organization of education published in the journal Amauta points out the need to deepen the knowledge about children in order to make school education more scientific, defending pedagogical processes that could keep up with the comprehensive development of students (Galvan, 1928a).

Amauta published reflections on El plan de la reformaeducacionalen Chile and reported that the Reform (1926) was started by primary-school teachers with a view to pedagogical progress. This reform can be summarized in three basic aspects:

1st The purposes and ideals of teaching that determine theoretical postulates (philosophical axis); 2nd The organization of the service in the tangible reality, which is the adaptation to the practice of the outlined problems (technical-administrative axis); and 3rd The condition and preparation of the teacher, who is the human driving element of the school and a worker in the educational undertaking (active axis) (Galvan, 1928b, p. 61, our translation).30

Still in this context, there were discussions around the philosophical purpose of education proposed by the Chilean reform, the autonomy and decentralization of pedagogical activities, in addition to the mandatory and free-of-charge condition of teaching.

Another issue of the journal presented a report on the organization of public education in Russia, highlighting the educational breakthroughs achieved after the 1917 Revolution. In that period, Work colleges were created, being the main means for elevating the culture of young peasants and workers. Thus, a campaign against illiteracy was organized as well, which included more than 1 million adult students (Lunatcharsky, 1929).

Regarding the Peruvian educational organization, Sal y Rosas (1929, p. 88, our translation)31 argued that the “[...] educational organization is still a strange case of embryonic hybridism in which more or less unfortunate attempts and adaptations were stratified […]”; the educational policy encompassed only the characteristics and needs of the coast, causing a subordination of the cultural processes of the mountain ranges, which represented most of Peru. In Sal y Rosas’ own words (1929, p. 89, our translation):32

Our educational policy must be informed about the ideal of making public education not just that administrative routine transplanted from Europe or North America, but a civilizing instrument of fruitful constructive action. [...] To this end, its structure must be molded within the physical and spiritual reality of each region [...] within the general lines and nationalist orientation that requires the creation of a genuinely Peruvian spirit and culture.

The content of the aforementioned text evidences the project of the journal Amauta in the educational work of preparation for the construction of a new country. The journal’s action, that of spreading and deepening knowledge of regional realities and generating new perspectives that represented the ‘deep Peru’, indicated the publication’s goal of breaking with the structures that marginalized the majority of Peruvian peoples and reproduced privileges for a minority.

Amauta published a text by the Union Movement that presented the organization of the Peruvian proletariat, whose purpose was to develop its own bodies of culture that, under the initiative of the Workers General Confederation of Peru [ConfederaçãoGeral dos Trabalhadores do Peru] (CGTP), decided to create schools referred to as Obreras and Campesinas. The CGTPs project, that of developing its own bodies of culture, was thought of and organized by Mariátegui with the purpose of allowing workers to be trained by means of their own realities.

The educational organization was also addressed in the text ‘La plásticarevolucionariamexicana y las escuelas de pintura al aire libre’, by Casanovas (1929). It is an experience that represented the revolutionary principles of the Mexican people, in which schools were open to everyone and without class privileges. Thus, they made art a social exponent, giving popular classes possibilities for artistic expression, so that, through it, they could fully externalize their lives.

It is seen in the texts that the concern about the structure and organization of the educational environment was closely related to the pedagogical dimension, and the latter, in its turn, to the political dimension. The journal Amauta presents no reform model to be implemented in Peru and other countries in the region. There is an attentive look at the international educational reality in a context of major social and political changes.

Amauta thought of Peru in correlation with other countries, and the Peruvian culture was thought of dialectically with the universal one. This was an important characteristic of the journal for the educational field, as it conceived the educational process from the perspective of a comprehensive training of individuals, with the ability to relate international experiences to national realities, by means of a dialogue between sorts of knowledge, thus generating new and alternative knowledge.

The student movement and the university

The texts on the Latin American student movement and university are linked to the denunciation and the orientation against the imperialist processes of the United States that were advancing in the region.Teachers such as Alberto Ulloa, Manoel Ugarte, Alfredo Palacios, among others, had major influence on the formation of the youths who sought to build a new Latin America.

For Haya de la Torre (1926a), the Latin American youth learned early on about the objectives and articulations of the US government of reigning over the peoples and, especially, over Latin Americans. Thus, he insisted on defending a Latin American intellectual front and denounced the rhetorical and reproductive character of the sciences, of literature and of the arts developed by regional oligarchies (Haya de la Torre, 1926b).

With regard to the Peruvian Student Federation, Amauta published their principles concerning the struggles to reform the university, seeking to establish autonomy, student participation in university governing bodies, the renewal of teaching methods, the creation of new chairs and the strengthening of the scientific perspective. In addition to the university reform, students defended a process of socialization of culture and solidarity between indigenous people and workers.

Amauta defended the need to develop a university project that could observe a common work aligned with the demands of the time. This proposal originated in the face of the realization that the Latin American university was still a mystification, requiring the creation of a new university (Sánchez Viamonte, 1926).

The project of a new university was thought of in the context of the relationship between university and political vocation, as it was important for the university to provide training to new politicians for Latin American countries. The need for a new political formation was the result of the transformations occurred as of the European war and the subsequent dictatorial and military reaction that influenced the definition of the political vocation of that century, which caused social unrest and the crisis of the old systems.

Amauta discussed the importance of the university and culture for nationalism, and that both were linked to the works developed by means of scientific investigations (Galvan, 1927). In the wake of the new Latin American generation, Amauta suggested that the renewal of the university spirit would involve the arrival of new professors, administrators and students who could implement new perspectives, in accordance with the circumstances of the new times (Fernández, 1928).

From this perspective, it defended a scientific reorganization of the university, with César Tello striving to show that it was “[...] in the University of the Future, in the University with universality, where all Arts and all Sciences are taught, and that, at the same time, can be an office for scientific investigation” (Arca Parró, 1928, p. 28, our translation)33. Alongside the concept of scientific university, Amauta defended the university culture and popular culture, with the aim of building an integrated university, reconciling university and people, manual worker and intellectual worker (Orrego, 1928).

The social meaning of the reform also indicated that the vital mission of the university was related to the demand for better education systems (Ramirez Castilla, 1929). Although in tune with the movements of the university reform, Amauta performed a critical reading of the University Reform of Córdoba, considering that “[...] it was the starting point of the Latin American petite-bourgeois ‘revolutionary movement’ (Martínez de la Torre, 1930, p. 48, author’s emphasis, our translation).34

The social composition of the Argentinian university went from the class that represented the old political and economic regime to the new generation, formed by the petite bourgeoisie and the working class, which encountered an archaic, theological and medieval university. Nevertheless, the Córdoba Reform was anticlerical, of a continental and anti-imperialist nature.

Amauta indicated that students and professors joined forces in the fight for the emancipation of the Latin American peoples against the imperialist process of the US. The Latin American youth was encouraged to fight the oligarchic and imperialist attacks and to build a project for a new Latin America, turning universities into a platform against the interests of the old bourgeois ideology of the ruling classes, which led to the incorporation of important professors in favor of the youth cause, such as Vasconcelos, Ingenieros, Palacios and Varona.

Amauta proposed the creation of a new university based on the knowledge of culture and scientific investigation, as well as of new methods. A teaching based on the implementation of seminars, research, and stimulating original production by teachers and institutions. University autonomy would come through the arrival of new professors, administrators and students who could respond to the needs of the new times, forming institutions of revolutionary culture.

Amauta also indicated that the university reform proposals were linked to the revolutionary middle classes and were manifestations of class struggles developed in the Latin American social and political contexts. The journal presented the character and reach of the reform in Peru, but also highlighted its Latin American essence, understanding that the movement was not only related to the university environment, but also to political and social aspects, confronting the conservative and reactionary sectors that took it as a specifically academic problem. It would be a university for all, open to the world of ideas and life, a space of plurality, of culture and, above all, of scientific construction.

Final considerations

Based on the analyses carried out on the texts with educational content in the journal Amauta, we consider that this was the most important educational platform that composed Mariátegui’s cultural and political project; the publication promoted the discussion of relevant themes for the educational field, such as the education of indigenous people, pedagogical theories, teaching, the organization of education, the student movement and the university.

Mariátegui, through Amauta, understood the educational process from the union between reason and imagination. The capacity for convergence between these two categories, characterized by the relationship of different cultural traditions (Andean and European), allowed him to essay the elaboration of another epistemology, composed of Andean reciprocity and solidarity, and of Western democracy and freedom.

Amauta became the intellectual space where proposals for studies, analyses and knowledge concerning Latin American problems began to be fostered, from a cultural and scientific point of view, questioning the canons of the thinking centered on Europe and on the US, pointing out the need to generate other epistemological bases from the realities and circumstances themselves.

We have in the journal Amauta traces of an educational project capable of linking the contributions of science, culture and popular knowledge, as well as creating spaces for investigation, analysis, dialogue and theoretical production from experiences. From the exercise of cultural and political organization carried out by the journal, we found a paramount contribution to current Latin American emancipatory pedagogical processes, an analytical and interpretive key that allows seeking the understanding of reality using tools designed from the circumstances themselves, generating an alternative and original thinking.

The journal Amauta, by means of its theoretical-methodological assumption, pursued the need to discover, in each particular reality, the method and the theory that would be capable of understanding and transforming it, without deeming determinant the Eurocentric instrumental rationality, but the very Latin American reality, developing a different way of observing, analyzing and interpreting reality. This is an important contribution to strengthen Latin American emancipatory pedagogical processes.

Having as basis for reflection and practice both the regional and national realities, the educational project spoken of on the pages of the journal Amauta indicates an education closed to any type of dogmatism and averse to imitation and copying processes. The proposal must remain autonomous, rising against any kind of obscurantist ideology and any new epistemic communities that present themselves as having universal knowledge. It opposes to the reductionist proposal of education as a mere training of manpower, and to mental, cultural and scientific colonialism.

Therefore, the organizational action of culture and politics proposed by the journal Amauta allows us to think about educational projects on the basis of major national problems, typical of the realities and circumstances of peripheral countries. They are projects that aim to research, analyze and interpret the real conditions of dependency and to understand that it is possible to build another historic destination for Latin America. Amauta’s inspiration is present today in many educational experiences, such as in the autonomous and emancipatory educational practices of the Zapatistas, in the pedagogical recovery of the buenvivir, and in numerous practices within school and non-school contexts. We hope to have managed to evidence in this article that Amauta, as an educational platform, is a milestone in the construction of an emancipatory pedagogical praxis in Latin America.


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18In the Quechua language, Amauta means master and sage, and referred to the one who dedicated himself to the formal education of the children of the Incas. However, the journal’s title translated Mariátegui’s fondness of the indigenous race, with the word Amauta acquiring a new meaning, becoming an educational platform for the Latin American people.

19Haya de la Torre (1895-1979) was a Peruvian politician who founded the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance [Aliança Popular Revolucionária Americana] (APRA), and an ideologue of the most important mass party in Peru, the Peruvian Aprista Party.

20It refers to Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre’s decision to make the APRA (American Popular Revolutionary Alliance) the Peruvian Nationalist Party.

21Hemos querido que ‘Amauta’tuviese un desarrollo orgánico, autónomo, individual, nacional. Por esto, empezamos por buscar subtítulo en la tradición peruana. ‘Amauta’ no debía ser un plagio ni una traducción. Tomábamos una palabra inkaica, para crearla de nuevo. Para que el Perú índio, la América indígena, sintieran que estarevista era suya. Y presentamos ‘Amauta’como la voz de un movimiento y de una generación.

22“El objeto de estarevista es el de plantear, esclarecer y conocer los problemas peruanos desde puntos de vista doctrinarios y científicos. Pero consideraremos siempre al Perú dentro del panorama del mundo. Estudiaremos todos los grandes movimientos de renovación -políticos, filosóficos, artísticos, literarios, científicos. Todo lo humano es nuestro. Esta revista vinculará a los hombres nuevos del Perú, primero con los de los otros pueblos de la América, en seguida con los de los otros pueblos del mundo […]”.

23La primera jornada de ‘Amauta’ ha concluido. En la segunda jornada, no necessita ya llamar se revista de la nueva generación, de la vanguardia, de las izquierdas. Para ser fiel a la Revolución le basta ser una revista socialista.

24“Amauta no es una diversión ni un juego de intelectuales puros: profesa una fe histórica, confesa una feactiva y multitudinaria, obedece a un movimiento social contemporáneo. En la lucha entre dos sistemas, entre dos ideas, no se no socurre sentirnos espectadores ni inventar un tercer término […]. En nuestra bandera, inscribimos esta sola, sencilla y grande palabra: Socialismo […]”.

25These texts are available in Santos (2020).

26“[...] revelaria absurdo colonialismo mental, la introducción de sistemas educacionales buenos para gentes ciudadanas”.

27“[...] una escuela para el índio ha de convivir con él de manera persistente, ha de interpretar sus acciones y sus sentimientos y esta obra no se realiza em pocos días sino em muchos años”.

28“[...] la escuela nueva […] es una creación espiritual y sólo la pueden hacer hombres y mujeres nuevos”.

291º Denunciar por la prensa y otros elementos de vulgarización las medidas violentas de que son objetos los educadores chilenos; 2º Celebrar actos de protesta contra los autores de las persecuciones, y de adhesión a las víctimas; 3º Hacer llegar su condenación, directamente, a la Dictadura, y a sus agentes diplomáticos en el exterior; 4º Trabajar por la expatriación de los maestros declarados cesantes; 5º Comunicar a la IMA, todas las resoluciones que se adopten.

301º Las finalidades y los ideales de la enseñanza que determinan postulados teóricos (eje filosófico); 2º La organización del servicio en la realidad tangible, que es la adecuación a la práctica de los problemas esbozados por aquel (eje técnico-administrativo); y 3º La condición y preparación del maestro que es el elemento humano motor de la escuela y obrero en la empresa educativa (eje activo)

31“[...] organización educacional es todavía un extraño caso de hibridismo embrionário en que se han estratificado ensayos y adaptaciones más o menos infortunados [...]”.

32“Nuestra política educativa debe informarse en el ideal de hacer de la enseñanza pública no ya aquella rutina administrativa transplantada de Europa o Norte américa, sino un instrumento civilizador de fecunda acción constructiva. [...] Para ello hay que plasmar su estructura dentro de la realidade física y espiritual de cada región [...] dentro de las líneas generales y orientación nacionalista que reclama la creación de un espíritu y una cultura genuinamente peruanos”.

33“[...] en la Universidad del Futuro, en la Universidad con universalidad, donde se ensiñen todas las Artes y todas las Ciencias, y, que, al mismo tiempo, sea um taller para investigar científicamente”.

34“[...] fue el punto de partida del ‘revolucionarismo’pequeño-burgués latinoamericano”.

How to cite this article: Santos, K. A., Oliveira, D. A., & Streck, D. R. The Journal Amauta (1926-1930): Study of a Latin American Educational Platform. (2021). Revista Brasileira de História da Educação, 21. DOI: This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC -BY 4) license

Received: June 14, 2020; Accepted: October 10, 2020; Published: January 11, 2021

Kildo Adevair dos Santos: PhD in Public Policies on Education and on the Teaching Profession in the Latin American PhD Program of the UFMGs School of Education [Faculdade de Educação] (FaE). Member of the Study Group on Educational Policy and Teaching Work [Grupo de EstudossobrePolíticaEducacional e TrabalhoDocente] - Gestrado/FaE/UFMG. Member of the Pedagogical Mediations and Citizenship research group - Vale do Rio dos Sinos University [Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos] (Unisinos). Associate researcher at the Institute of Peruvian Studies [Instituto de EstudosPeruanos] - IEP. Pedagogical coordinator in the municipal education network of Ibituruna/MG. E-mail:

Dalila Andrade Oliveira: Professor of Public Policies on Education in the Graduate Education Program at the Federal University of Minas Gerais. Visiting professor from the Graduate Education Program of the Federal University of Paraíba [Universidade Federal da Paraíba]. PQ-1A/CNPq researcher. Coordinator of the Study Group on Educational Policies and Teaching Work. E-mail:

Danilo Romeu Streck: Professor from the Graduate Education Program at the Vale do Rio dos Sinos University (Unisinos) - São Leopoldo/RS. CNPq researcher - Level 1A. Coordinator of the Pedagogical Mediations and Citizenship research group. Executive editor of International Journal of Action Research. E-mail:


Responsible associate editor: José Gonçalves Gondra (UERJ) E-mail:

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