Hello, Hola, Allillanchu,

Welcome to the new website for the Círculo Micaela Bastidas Phuyuqhawa, an interdisciplinary collective of students and professors who focus on the Andean region at the University of Michigan. Here you will find information about our organization, summaries of past presentations and events, as well as the current schedule of activities. 


Bienvenidos al sitio web del Círculo Micaela Bastidas Phuyuqhawa, un colectivo interdisciplinario de alumnos y profesores de la Universidad de Michigan que enfocan en la región andinana. Aquí se encuentran información sobre la organización, resúmenes de presentaciones y eventos pasados, además del horario actual de actividades.

Bruce Mannheim in the Wall Street Journal article "Reviving a Fading Language Called Quechua"

Check out this recent article from the Wall Street Journal, "Reviving a Fading Language Called Quechua," featuring a quote from our very own Dr. Bruce Mannheim! Read the full article here, which details the efforts of the New York Quechua Initiative to teach Quechua to young speakers.

Dr. Mannheim contributed information on the causes of language shift from Quechua to Spanish in the Andes:
Several factors, including discrimination, have contributed to the decline of Quechua, particularly in urban areas, said Bruce Mannheim, professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan. 
"Quechua speakers in urban areas make sure their children speak Spanish," he said. "And their grandchildren only speak Spanish.…Among the different languages, there are a number of them that are threatened with extinction within this generation."

Monday, April 7: Karl Swinehart, Four Field Colloquium Series talk

Please join us for a Department of Anthropology Four Field Colloquium talk co-sponsored by Círculo Andino, featuring Karl Swinehart:

Monday, April 7th
340 West Hall
**reception follows in the Titiev Library, 211 West Hall**

"Lily Buffalo's Heartache: Ethnographic Violation and Weston LaBarre's Imperial Anthropology" 
The early career of the anthropologist Weston LaBarre provides a case study of the ways in which mid twentieth century anthropology calibrated the production of ethnographic knowledge with the imperial aspirations of the U.S. state, and the ideologies of race and gender undergirding them. Across three disparate ethnographic sites—among American Indians in Oklahoma and Arkansas, in highland Aymara communities of Bolivia, and among Japanese-Americans interned in the Utah desert—LaBarre’s fieldwork interventions are riddled with ethical violations that betray contempt for the subjects of his research. He fakes his own death before a Kiowa community to escape the consequences of an affair with an “Indian maid,” Lily Buffalo. During Japanese internment, he works as a social science administrator in the service of an internment camp in Topaz, Utah. From this “field work” he produces accounts of “Japanese character structure” that feminize Japanese men and establish equivalencies between them and Western women, within a framework that situates white men as victims of both. In Bolivia he gives scholarly cover for local elites’ assessments of Aymaras as irrational and violent and makes appeals to the U.S. state on anti-communist grounds to marshal support for research on Andean populations, establishing equivalencies between them and American Indians. Examining the case of Weston LaBarre sheds light on a moment in a supposedly anti-racialist anthropology in which the shift away from biological notions of human difference towards a framework of cultural relativism manages to leave untouched a nexus of male chauvinism, white supremacy, and U.S. hegemony as the presumed precondition for intellectual production.

Karl Swinehart is a Collegiate Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago. He is a linguistic anthropologist with a background in applied and educational linguistics whose ethnographically informed work illuminates institutional interventions in the linguistic, and more broadly semiotic, mediation of social groups. His dissertation, Ayllu on the Airwaves: Rap, Reform, & Redemption on Aymara National Radio, compares three Aymara-Spanish bilingual media platforms in Bolivia from which diverse cultural brokers project differing models of indigenous nationhood. He is expanding the dissertation’s section on hip-hop into a book-length manuscript--Clear, Hidden Voices: Language, Indigeneity and Hip-hop in Bolivia.

Thursday, March 27: Maya Stanfield-Mazzi lecture

Maya Stanfield-Mazzi Lecture, “Clothing the Andean Church: Indigenous Textile Artistry in Colonial Peru”
Thursday, March 27, 2014; 5:30PM
180 Tappan Hall, 855 S. University, Ann Arbor

Maya Stanfield-Mazzi will discuss her current research on textiles created by indigenous artists to adorn Catholic churches in the Andean region. She will explain the main uses for such textiles within the church, and examine splendid surviving examples of works created using three basic techniques: weaving, painting or printing, and embroidery. All help illustrate the ways in which native artists contributed to the visual culture of the Catholic Church in the New World. 

Maya Stanfield-Mazzi is assistant professor of art history at the University of Florida.

Tuesday, February 18: Bruce Mannheim on wak'as

Please join us for a discussion of Bruce Mannheim and Guillermo Salas's forthcoming paper "Entifications of the Andean Sacred." We will meet, Feb. 18 at 4pm in 209 West Hall to discuss the paper with Dr. Mannheim.

If you would like to read the pre-circulated paper, please email the coordinators for a copy.

Thursday, January 23: Welcome Meeting!

Join Círculo for our first meeting of the year on Thursday, Jan. 23 from 3-4pm in 209 West Hall. We'll be discussing some exciting plans for the upcoming semester and taking suggestions for activities.

Monday, November 25: Margarita Huayhua on Quechua ontology

Please join Círculo in welcoming back Margarita Huayhua, past member and Michigan anthropology Ph.D. (2010), during a presentation of her short documentary "Our land, our life, then and now," which deals with Quechua ontology. More information below.

Monday November 25, 2013
5 - 6:30pm
418 West Hall

Dinner served.

This will be our last formal meeting of 2013, so we hope to see you there!

Bolivian Quechua Politics and Ontology
Margarita Huayhua


Quechua social and linguistic practices presuppose and entail specific entities and the interactions among them. For instance, villagers of Mallku-Quta (Bolivia) build and keep relationships not only among humans, but with “things” –especially places—such as lakes and mountains that are part of the territory in which they live. These relationships illustrate that particular places exist as social beings and that they are part of the world that villagers have constituted as such. In this conceptualization, the mountain and lake named Mallku-Quta exists as a single person with whom villagers converse and cooperate sharing food and treats to guarantee the reproduction of their life. These relationships are not abstract, but have the same kind of texture and specificity as any social relationships, evidence for which is in the comportment of the villagers. As Sapir (1929) wrote, “[t]he worlds in which different societies live are distinct worlds, not merely the same world with different labels attached.”

Mallku-Quta can be translated as the foremost source of water, or the foremost lake. It is composed of a mountain that has a condor-like shape and five lakes. The mountain is populated by many water springs that run down its slopes toward its base to form the lakes. It gives rise to two river basins that secure the means of living for villagers and all those who depend on the water. For villagers, Mallku-Quta exists as a person with desires, will and power. The villagers offer her a llama and drinks to keep and renew their relationships in a constant effort to have what is needed for the life and growth of plants, animals and humans. In short, places like Mallku-Quta exist and constitute the world for Quechua-speaking people. To illustrate the way Quechua speakers think and see the world around them, I will screen a video-documentary entitled “Our land, our life, then and now,” 20m. (2013).

Biographical sketch

Margarita Huayhua has a Ph.D. in anthropology (University of Michigan 2010). She is a native speaker of the Quechua language (for whom it is still primary), whose research revolves around the cultures of the Andes, especially on problems of power and social domination in a comparative, Latin America-wide perspective. Her primary interest deals with relations of domination, and the ways in which these play out in everyday life, particularly the ideologies that permeate these interactions and serve to perpetuate social inequality and exclusion across cultures. She is interested in interactions that take place across cultures, in which distinct moralities and social ontologies help to shape relationships of hierarchy. She is also interested in language use in everyday life, racial/ethnic, and gender hierarchies, ethnography, oral history, multilingualism, and indigenous people’s movements. Among her publications are “Racism and Social Interaction in a Southern Peruvian combi” (2013) Ethnic and Racial Studies; “Everyday Discrimination in the Southern Andes” (2013) Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut: Estudios Indiana, Berlin; “Some Issues in Translating Quechua” (2009), STILLA; Public Health Policies and Indigenous Population (2005), Instituto de Estudios Peruanos; and “The Exclusion of the Runa as Subject of Rights in Perú” (1999), Bulletin de I’Institut Français d’Études Andines.

Currently, she is investigating how the image of “the Indian as a problem” is constructed to (a) justify the subordination and exploitation of indigenous people, (b) undercut the self-determination of indigenous people to defend their land on the basis of their own conceptions of their relationships to the land. She is preparing a digital archive and a video-documentary on the life experiences of Quechua speakers who were servants in the haciendas of Peru and Bolivia in order to document these processes. Her research is funded by the Urgent Anthropology Programme, Royal Anthropological Institute, London.