Gandhi is a PhD student in Anthropology at UNM. This research was made possible in part by funding from the Latin American & Iberian Institute and Tinker Foundation Field Research Grant (FRG). For more information about the FRG, please visit the LAII website.
Courtesy of author. Tsimané family.
I spent June to December of 2013 in the rainforest of Bolivia among an indigenous group known as the Tsimané. They live as hunter-horticulturalists in an environment with minimal market integration, no electricity, natural fertility, and a subsistence lifestyle. I studied their sleep patterns using wrist-worn sleep monitors and interviews. I hypothesize that their sleep duration is determined by a tradeoff between the need for rest and bodily repair and opportunity costs of sleep, as productive nighttime activity. The environment in which the Tsimané live is more similar to that in which humans evolved than that of contemporary US and western society where electricity and wage labor obscure the relationship between sleep and wake activity. The preliminary analysis of my dataset supports this tradeoff model, and when fully developed will become my dissertation.
James is a PhD student in Anthropology at UNM. This research was made possible in part by funding from the Latin American & Iberian Institute and Tinker Foundation Field Research Grant (FRG). For more information about the FRG, please visit the LAII website.
The site of Centinla
Thanks to the generosity of the LAII and the Tinker Foundation Field Research Grant, I was able to travel to the coastal Huaura Valley of Peru to conduct research. The purpose of this trip was twofold: firstly, to conduct a detailed analysis of a Late Intermediate (A.D. 1000 to 1450) and Late Horizon period (A.D. 1450 to 1532) ceramic assemblage; secondly, to visit sites in the Huaura Valley to evaluate their excavation potential for further study. I travelled to the archaeological site of Centinela, which is located on Peru’s Pacific coast at the mouth of the Huaura River. Centinela is composed of adobe compounds and public spaces that were inhabited from the Middle Horizon period (A.D. 600 to 1000) up until European contact. By studying the ceramic assemblage from the site of Cerro Colorado, I have familiarized myself with the material culture of the Huaura Valley, experience that will prove useful for future research in this area.
Stacie is a Masters student in Anthropology at UNM. This research was made possible in part by funding from the Latin American & Iberian Institute and Tinker Foundation Research Grant (FRG). For more information about the FRG, please visit the LAII website.
Courtesy of author- aerial view of Bogotá
Historically, Afro-Colombians have been socially marginalized and politically excluded. Beginning in the early 1500s, African slave labor was applied to cattle raising, transportation, construction, and domestic service (Arocha 1998, p. 73-4), with a later a focus on gold and platinum mining. Due to the scattering of slave concentrations throughout the country, ethnic reconstruction was limited until the early 1900s, when the rise of sugar plantations sparked consolidation efforts for enslaved Afro-descended populations –though it is still difficult to trace ethnic identity formations (Arocha 1998, p. 73). Arocha notes that Afro-Colombians were made invisible by the Christianization of African slaves, wherein names were altered or replaced to match masters’ family names. Additionally, a shift towards a new caste system abandoned racial terminology, instead tying in whiteness directly to authenticity and “rationality” (ibid 1998; see also Arocha 1992). The concept of progress became inextricably tied to race, with Afro-Colombians at the far end of the spectrum. To this day, some academics and political officials still consider Afro-Colombian history as being “fake” or invented when compared to that of indigenous peoples, mestizos, and Spanish inhabitants (Walsh 2007, p. 201-7). It should be noted that in Colombia, Afro-descended populations outnumber indigenous populations, and have been living in the country since the sixteenth century (Walsh 2007 p. 202; Oslender 2002 p. 91). Out of the roughly 15 million Afro-descendants living in Colombia, over one million reside in the Pacific coastal region, the majority being in Quibdó, Buenaventura, Tumaco, and Guapi with around forty percent living in smaller, more rural areas (Oslender 2007, p. 754; Walsh 2007, p. 201).