It was more than a quarter of a century ago that I returned from my first trip to South America with a suitcase full of dissertation notes from field study in Colombia, especially the department of Antioquia and its capital city, Medellín. I had gone there with the idea of learning what I could about the coffee economy of the northern Andes but had been diverted, instead, to the phenomenon of the Antioqueños--the people of Antioquia--and to the configuration of their distinctive culture and the mark it had left on the land (Parsons, 1949).