Tag Archives: Peru

Upcoming Event: Peruvian Scissors Dancers Performance

scissorsdancersJoin us Tuesday, October 18 to witness the wonderful peruvian scissors dancers performance at the KJCC Auditorium!

Originating in the southern region of Peru (Ayacucho) during the Andean resistance period (in the middle of the 16th century), ancient Scissors Dancers were prohibited for being considered rebels, heretics and possessed by demons. However, they fought – through dance – against the Spanish rule and Catholic mission process that promoted the extirpation of Andean gods and deities. Even so, they have survived up to present day.

The performance will feature two dancers competing while accompanied by two musicians playing an Andean violin and harp. CLACS Quechua professor Odi Gonzales and current Quechua students will share remarks during the event as well.

The Scissors Dancers are Peruvian citizens who live in New York and Connecticut. Dancer Steve Cota Quispe, who hails from from Ayacucho, is the coordinator.

Here’s a sneak peek of what we’ll bear witness to next week. Be sure to join us Tuesday, October 18 at 7:00 p.m.

‘A New-New Left in Latin America?’ with Verónika Mendoza Event Recap

Thanks to everyone who joined us last Friday for our event ‘A New-New Left in Latin America?: The Challenge of Progressive Politics in the Midst of a Conservative Turn.’ More than two hundred students, professors, activists, local media, Peruvian journalists and community members joined us at KJCC Auditorium to hear former Peruvian Presidential candidate Verónika Mendoza speak about the rise of  a ‘New-New left’ in the region.

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CLACS Assistant Director Omar Dauhajre presented the event and panelists. Speakers included essayist and poet Mariela Dreyfus who highlighted the feminist activism in Peru and Jose Luis Rénique, historian and principal professor at Lehman College, who discussed democracy, education, and the promise of the left. Panelist Paula Garcia shifted the conversation to the challenges of the Frente Amplio as an organization.

Verónika shared her perspectives about the challenges of the Left in the new Latin American scenario, her strong results in notoriously conservative Peru, and her vision of the future. One of her strongest messages was,  “The absence of the left in national politics represents an opportunity to create something new.”

You can watch a video of the event on the CLACS NYU Youtube page, included below!


Thanks again for joining us, please be sure to learn more about our events on our webpage here.

Welcome Back and Upcoming CLACS Events

CLACS - Washington Square Park

The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) at NYU would like to welcome back our students and faculty and wishes all our followers a happy Fall!

We kicked off the semester by enthusiastically welcoming our newest MA students at orientation. We are excited to have such a dynamic group begin a new academic year.

We would like to usher in the new semester with an amazing set of events at our center. Some of the events we have planned for the Fall include a talk with Peruvian activist Verónika Mendoza about the challenges of the Left in the new Latin American scenario; a POETEA showcase to celebrate Quechua & Kreyòl  with a night of poetry and tea; a panel presentation of the book “Kalman Silvert: Engaging Latin America, Building Democracy,” to celebrate CLACS’s founding director and the center’s 50th anniversary; and and a presentation of the Chilean fantasy series “Trilogía del Malamor.”

Stay tuned for CLACS events this fall by joining the CLACS email list, liking CLACS at NYU on Facebook, and following us on Twitter at @clacs_nyu!

Radio and politics in the Peruvian Altiplano

Posted by Ximena Málaga Sabogal, PhD student in Anthropology at NYU

Radio Onda Azul - XMS

I am used to being asked what anthropology is and what, as an anthropologist, do I “actually” do. I usually have a different set of answers depending on my interlocutors. But something that I always have to deal with is the “classical” definition of anthropology, the one that implies studying “a traditional way of life”. Although that definition can be a good starting point for a conversation, I try to bring it to and interest in social changes as soon as I can. If not, how to explain that analyzing the ways in which radio affects – or comes from – everyday life is also anthropology? When studying media as social and cultural repertories, anthropologists have a lot of competition in the field. I am constantly mistaken for a journalist working on a piece, which changes the interactions with my interlocutors.

What has this interest on radio to do with my search for Aymara and Quechua identity definitions and its connections with the international indigenous movement? In Puno the answer is: a lot. Radio has been present in Altiplano’s peasants’ life for a long time. In part due to the low electrification of the region, radio has been – and in some districts of Puno still is – the most popular communication device. The first radio to begin operations in Puno was Onda Azul, back in the 1950s. This is not only the first radio, it is also a very special one. It comes from an early initiative of Puno’s Catholic Church and answers to the developmental model of educación popular. In a time when Puno had one of the highest levels of illiteracy, Onda Azul worked hand in hand with the Peruvian government to develop a program of escuelas radiofónicas. Radios were given in different communities in the Aymara and Quechua sectors of Puno and every day the people would come together to listen to classes and solve exercises with the help of a facilitator. At the end of the school year, the Ministry of Education would organize exams for the people involved in the radio classes, and hand out official diplomas to the ones who passed everything.

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Indigenous Puno?

MalagaSabogal_Peru_Puno.JPG

Posted by Ximena Málaga Sabogal – PhD student in Anthropology at NYU

It has been a couple of weeks since I arrived in Puno, one of the biggest cities in the southern Peruvian Andes. I have a long history with this city, having researched in the area throughout my bachelor and masters degree. Still, Puno was always a place to go through, in order to get somewhere else. This time I am going to spend two months in the city, going through the archives and talking to people who can somehow enlighten me on my research topic. Although I am an anthropologist, I also have a background in history and always try to bring these two together in my research. I am interested in the Aymara and Quechua identity definitions and its connections with the international indigenous movement.

Who is indigenous? What does it even mean? For a long time, this was not a question being asked in Peru. El problema del Indio (the Indian problem) became a topic at the beginning of the 20th century but the question about who is indio was not put forward until the last decades. As in Latin America more broadly, ethnicity in Peru is constructed through a combination of quite fluid physical and cultural categories that are sometimes claimed as means of self-identification, but more often ascribed by others. During the first half of the 20th century, the category of race became culturized (and culture became racialized) which led to even more complications in the definitions of who the indio was. From an elite and “white” perspective, national progress required de-indianization of the country’s population, to be accomplished through education and literacy, while the growing rural-to-urban migration process watered down distinct cultural characteristics of those who only a decade before were considered by the state as definitely Indian. Velasco Alvarado’s revolutionary government (1968-1975) further advanced the process of de-indianization, although for different reasons, advocating for the use of the term “peasant.

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Quechua/Kichwa Film Showcase on the Road

From June 17th to the 19th the Quechua/Kichwa film showcase May Sumak! (How Beautiful!) is going on the road  to Washington, D.C. The showcase is a celebration of indigenous and community filmmaking in the Quechua languages spoken throughout the Andes and by immigrants in the United States. Created in 2015 by the CLACS student-led Runasimi Outreach Committee (ROC), May Sumak! will be part of the National Museum of the American Indian’s ongoing exhibition The Great Inka Road The opening night will feature the film Killa  and Q&A with its director  Ecuadorian filmmaker Alberto Muenala. This conversation will be hosted by CLACS alum and former ROC member Charlie Uruchima. Click here for more details on the films, show times and venues.

maysumak ifle invite

Colloquium Series Presentation: Irene Silverblatt

By Michael Cary, CLACS MA Student

On Monday, February 1st, CLACS inaugurated the Spring 2016 Colloquium Series with a presentation by Irene Silverblatt. The theme for this semester’s colloquium series is “Political Imaginaries Across Latin America and the Caribbean” and Silverblatt, a professor of cultural anthropology at Duke University, spoke on race thinking and Spanish colonial Peru.

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