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People: Field Research Grant Recipients

The LAII provides field research grants for graduate students in any UNM department to conduct field work in Latin America.

2013 Recipients

Below is information concerning the field research projects conducted with support from the LAII in 2013. To see a more complete collection of field research photography, visit the LAII's 2013 Field Research Flickr album.

Andrew Bernard

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Water Infrastructure as Public Space in Arid Regions

Andrew Bernard, a Master's student in Landscape Architecture, traveled to Mendoza, Argentina, from July 2-31, 2013, to research the form and function of the acequias that run throughout the city and how they form or relate to the public spaces. In doing so, he juxtaposed the acequia system found in Mendoza, Argentina, against his background knowledge of New Mexico's own acequias. His research involved visually documenting the characteristics, spatial qualities, and dimensions of the water infrastructure as it exists in the urban context; documenting the function of the system as an integrated network; and documenting the uses of the spaces formed by this system. This research led Andrew to conceptualize alternative means of water infrastructure in New Mexico. Additionally, due to his discussions with colleagues while in Argentina, it initiated a dialogue between Mendoza and Albuquerque - both arid regions with complex water infrastructure.

Daniel Cozart

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Afro-Peruvian Creoles: The Social and Political History of Black Peruvians in an Era of Revolution and Scientific Racism

History PhD student Daniel Cozart traveled to Lima, Peru, from June 2 to June 28, 2013, to support preliminary archival research related to his dissertation, a working title for which is "Afro-Peruvian Creoles: The Social and Political History of Black Peruvians in an Era of Revolution and Scientific Racism." One of the central concerns in the investigation was the extreme decline of the Peruvian population that identified itself as "black" between the colonial era and the mid-twentieth century. The project's archival research was conducted primarily at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, with complementary time spent at the Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática (INEI), the regional archives in Trujillo, and the municipal archives in Piura - the latter two both in northern Peru. This research led to a related conference paper tentatively titled "Sign here with an 'X': Literacy, Race, and Power in Early Post-abolition Peru," which has elicited interest among US and Peruvian historians.

James A. Davenport

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Imperial Inka Presence in the Norte Chico: Administrative and Ideological Control

James A. Davenport, a PhD student in Anthropology, travelled to the coastal Huaura Valley of Peru to conduct a detailed analysis of ceramic assemblage and to search for potential excavation sites to assist in preliminary dissertation research. His research, "Imperial Inka presence in the Norte Chico: Administrative and Ideological Control," looks at the complex cultural and political systems of the Huaura Valley and how they were eventually subjugated by the Inka Empire. Through studying the characteristics of pottery at this location, Davenport hopes to shed light on the change of public space usage and the assertion of Inka authority within the valley.

Grant Florian

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The Sociopolitics of Umbandaime

PhD student of Anthropology Grant Florian traveled to Brazil from June 8 to July 8, 2013, to study the broad transition from traditional religions, such as Catholicism, to more ecstatic religions such as Santo Daime and Umbanda. To assist in preliminary dissertation research, he worked with local academics and forged relationships with leaders of various religious communities. Traveling from São Paulo to other locales, he also had the opportunity to observe several religious services of both Santo Daime and Umbanda. He hopes that his research can positively shift the discourse of syncretic religions within United States academia towards greater openness and understanding of the importance of these religions in multi-ethnic Brazil.

Chris Galanis

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Sobre las Huellas: Retracing the Steps

Master's student in Art & Art History, Chris Galanis traveled to Catalonia, Spain during the months of May and June, 2013, to conduct research that was primarily realized through a 150 mile memorial walk from the French border to Barcelona along the Costa Brava. The route was a re-tracing in reverse of the steps of hundreds of thousands of Republican Spaniards who fled to France on foot for fear of reprisals by the forces of Franco's fascist army at the end of the Spanish Civil war. The purpose of the trip was to experimentally apply walking as a methodology. Following the walk, he stayed in Barcelona for four weeks as an artist/scholar-in-residence at the organization Hangar, where he gave a public presentation and consolidated the documentation of his walk, which included: photographs, video, sketches, journals, research contacts, and the acquisition of historical documents. By studying landscape and human artifacts through the methodology of walking, he hopes to further develop and apply this approach as a viable method for embodied knowledge production.

Mike Graham de la Rosa

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The Art of Getting Up: Collective Art and Artists' Discourses in Oaxaca

During the summer of 2013, Master's student of Latin American Studies Mike Graham de la Rosa traveled to Oaxaca de Juárez, Mexico, to conduct qualitative research to answer his thesis inquiries, which look at the function of art in a social and discursive manner. To this end, he worked and studied with the Asemblea de Artistas Revolucionarios de Oaxaca (ASARO), conducting interviews and observing social events and celebrations. His qualitative and quantitative research allowed him to further understand the representations of Oaxaca as a whole as it appears in popular culture, art, and celebrations.

Elizabeth Halpin

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Cultural Survival's Community Radio Program: Understanding How an International NGO Fosters Local Community Development in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

From June 4 to July 16, 2013, Elizabeth Halpin, a dual degree Master's student in Latin American Studies and Community and Regional Planning, traveled to Guatemala to conduct research to support her thesis on community radio and development. She stayed primarily in the city of Quetzaltenango, where she worked with the organization Cultural Survival Global Response Program. Her research consisted of interviews with workers and volunteers involved with various community radios in the area surrounding Quetzaltenango. In particular, she looked at how radio is used to discuss issues of sexuality, public health, and community mobilization. Note: To read an article about this research, visit the SOLAS website.

Stacie Hecht

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Afro-Colombians and the Encroachment of Paramilitaries on the African Palm Oil Sector

Anthropology Master's student Stacie Hecht travelled to Bogotá, Colombia from June 17to July 17 to conduct research to support her thesis "Afro-Colombians and the Encroachment of Paramilitaries on the African Palm Oil Sector." In this, she explores the relationship between the burgeoning African palm oil industry and the increase of paramilitary presence within regions along Colombia's Pacific coast. Her preliminary fieldwork consisted of archival work and interviews.

Amanda Hooker

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The Effects of Transnational Mining on Colombian Communities

Amanda Hooker, a dual degree Master's student in Latin America Studies and Community and Regional Planning, travelled to Colombia in the summer of 2013 to investigate the effects of transnational, large-scale mining on Colombian communities and ecosystems. She sought to understand the role that Canadian capital has played in developing a Colombian Mining Code in its favor. In particular, she looked at Santander province, where large-scale mining has contaminated and diminished the high-mountain paramo ecosystems that provide a fresh water supply across the region. She spent time in Bogotá interviewing national economic, social, and environmental organizations to provide the current context of mining in Colombia. She also interviewed a wide range of social activists, environmentalists, and rural committees concerned about the well-being of the paramosystems. She hopes her research may pave the way for alternative possibilities for local communities faced with the impacts of transnational mining. Note: To read an article about this research, visit the SOLAS website.

Marcel Montoya

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The Ecological Impacts of Inca Architecture and Land Use

From May 19 to July 21, 2013, Marcel Montoya, a Master's student in Architecture, traveled to Peru to conduct field research to support his thesis that Incan design and architecture positively strengthened the ecology of Peru. Through collecting soil and water samples from areas both influenced and not influenced by historical Incan terraforming, he hopes to show that the lasting effects of their civilization include increased biodiversity, mitigated drought conditions, cleaner river water, desert plant growth, and more bountiful habitats for humans and animals. The ultimate goal of his research is to develop ideas that can be applied to other areas around the world that experience environmental deterioration, including New Mexico. Note: To read an article about this research, visit the SOLAS website.

Beau Murphy

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Achanchi Archaeological Research Project

During the summer of 2013, Beau Murphy, a PhD student of Archaeology, traveled to Peru to assist in preliminary dissertation research and participate in the Achanchi Archaeological Research Project. His work and research will contribute to the incipient body of knowledge regarding the Chanka ethnic group, which existed during the time AD 1000-1400. In addition, he was able to visit and observe many surrounding archaeological sites for assessment of research potential and develop valuable contacts with several Peruvian and American professional and graduate-level researchers.

Corey Ragsdale

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Cultural Ecology and Biological Distance Among Postclassic Mexican Populations

Corey Ragsdale, a PhD student of Anthropology, traveled to Mexico City in the summer of 2013 to study dental morphological observations from skeletal remains representing various groups around Mexico during the Postclassic (AD 900-1520) period to assist in preliminary dissertation research. Through comparing numerous dental characteristics, he hopes to shed light on cultural relationships such as trade and political interaction. He was able to collect data from skeletal collections housed at the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia y Historia, the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico, and the Museo del Templo Mayor. He was also able to establish relationships and collaborations with several researchers in and around Mexico City, which in turn ideally will create greater cooperation between academic networks in the United States and Mexico.