Posted by Tony Wood, graduate student in Latin American History at NYU
From 9th to 13th July I took part in an ethnographic field methods workshop in Carhuaz, a small town high in the Peruvian Andes, around 280 miles north of Lima. The town itself nestles between two mountain ranges – to the west the rugged Cordillera Negra, to the east the Cordillera Blanca, a chain of majestic, glacier-capped mountains that include some of the tallest in the Western Hemisphere.
The workshop was held under the auspices of the Center for Social Well-Being, which also runs Quechua language courses and retreats on its 5-hectare eco-farm a little outside the town (known as La Casa de Pocha). The Center was set up 15 years ago by the Peruvian ecologist Flor de María Barreto Tosi (the eponymous Pocha), and Patricia Hammer, an American anthropologist, aiming to put into practice the principles of sustainable living on the one hand, and of “participatory action research” on the other.