The Continuity and Change in the Andes and Amazonia Working Group


Andes and Amazonia

Humanities Institute and Center for Latin American Studies Working Group

Continuity and Change in the Andes and Amazonia

We are happy to announce that our Working Group “Continuity and Change in the Andes and Amazonia” has been approved for a third year of funding! We look forward to a series of engaging sessions in Spring and Autumn of this year and to an evolving dialogue around themes in this region.


We kick off our third year with a talk on Wednesday, March 2, on “Amazonia and the Antropocene: People, Soils, Plants, Forests” by one of the most recent faculty hires in Amazonian studies, Nick Kawa, Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the Ohio State University, whose research focuses on issues of biodiversity management, agricultural sustainability, and long-term human-environmental interaction in the Amazon region. (Keep an eye out for the forthcoming announcement with time, place and rsvp request).

On Friday, April 1 the WG will be holding a Faculty Working Session on Interdisciplinary Classroom Uses of the Andean and Amazonian Cultural Artifacts Collection recently acquired by CLAS and housed in SPPO. This unique collection supports an integrated learning environment for Quechua language studies and the Andean and Amazonian Studies Interdisciplinary Minor. For this session we invite faculty to brainstorm together from their respective disciplinary perspectives about possible pedagogical uses of these artifacts in their classrooms.  (Also keep an eye out for the CLAS invitation for the inauguration of this collection in April)

The WG is also co-sponsoring an SPPO event with Bolivian visiting scholar Oscar Vega in mid-April. Reserve the date on your calendars for April 14 and 15 and keep an eye out details as we near the date.

In Autumn of 2016 the Andes/Amazonia Working Group will sponsor a Parallel Session on the Andes and Amazonia to coincide with the ILCLA Conference (Indigenous Languages and Cultures of Latin America Conference) scheduled for October 13-15, 2016.

Andean Music Ensemble

Keep an eye out for announcements on all of these exciting events!



Some of the highlights from last semester (AU 2015) included a well-attended session by Dr. Sue Kalt, NEH/NSF Fellow, on models for participant action in linguistic fieldwork; a theater and social action workshop presented by Daniel Bryan, Director of Pachaysana Institute of Ecuador; and a talk by the Chicago-based Ecuadorian Consul and Vice Consul. We partnered with other units and departments on campus throughout the year, which ensured the success of these WG events. Two events in particular are examples of how our WG programming has developed beyond the individual speaking engagements: 

  1. Our invitation to Daniel Bryan for the theater and social action workshop has led to Pachaysana Institute becoming a third party provider for a unique, fair-trade study abroad opportunity in Amazonian Ecuador. The Departments of English, Theater, Geography, Comparative Studies (Folklore) and Spanish and Portuguese support the program with pre-approved course equivalencies for participating OSU students. (Visit  and for more information).
  1. The talk by the Chicago-based Ecuadorian Consul and Vice Consul was attended by more than 80 people. This visit allowed us to show the Consul and Vice Consul all of the Andean and Amazonian initiatives at OSU and to engage the Consul’s interest in supporting our Andean and Amazonian languages and cultures programs. We explored possibilities for an OSU-Ecuador “pipeline” for undergraduate and graduate opportunities in both directions and brought Ecuadorian faculty, staff and students at OSU together with the prospect of connecting OSU to a seven state professional network of Ecuadorians and annual conference sponsored by the Consulate.  

We look forward to another productive year!

On behalf of the co-coordinators for 2016 Kendra McSweeney (Geography), Fernando Unzueta (Spanish and Portuguese), and Michelle Wibbelsman (Spanish and Portuguese)


The Humanities Institute and CLAS sponsored Working Group “Continuity and Change in the Andes and Amazonia” launched its first session on February 20 in Spring of 2014 with a working paper discussion of an article in progress by Alcira Dueñas (Associate Professor, History OSU Newark Campus). We used the initial stage of the WG in Spring of 2014 to develop awareness of research focused on the Andes and Amazonia across campus, explore common interests, develop interdepartmental and institutional networks, and identify emerging themes.

Humanities Institute & CLAS Andean Studies Working Group

Autumn 2015 calendar

Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015

12:45-2:00 p.m.  Lunch and information session Pachaysana Study Abroad Program in Ecuador,  Kuhn Honors and Scholars House

3:00-4:30  Rehearsing Social Change Theater Workshop, Pomerene Hall 205

Daniel Bryan

Daniel Bryan, Ph.D., Director of Pachaysana Foundation, Ecuador

Rehearsing Change: Finding, Telling and Transforming the Development Story in Amazonia”  An interactive theater workshop that explores issues of diversity, identity and intercultural communication

Co-sponsored by the Humanities Institute and CLAS Working Group Continuity and Change in the Andes and Amazonia, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, and Honors & Scholars

“Make a Difference.”Change the World.” “Save the Planet.” More than ever before, college students are participating in service learning, community engagement and study abroad. We look for ways to affect global change, but in such a complex world, what does “making a difference” actually mean?

This presentation/workshop asks participants to consider the importance of “rehearsing change” before we try to enact change. Setting the stage in the Ecuadorian Amazon, we explore the conflict between local and global interests. Then, using Participatory Theatre exercises, we will engage a creative dialogue, exploring Development as story.

An educator, activist and artist, Daniel Bryan specializes in the use of participatory theatre as a means of education, empowerment and development. Originally from the United States, he has lived for the last 15 years in Ecuador, where he serves as Executive Director of the Pachaysana Institute, working with indigenous and marginalized communities in the Amazon Rainforest. He is also Instructor of Theatre at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito and coordinates the community-based study abroad program, Rehearsing Change: Empowering Locally, Educating Globally.

Thursday, Oct. 1  Kuhn Honors and Scholars House 2:30-4:30 p.m.

Sue Kalt

Dr. Sue Kalt, Roxburry Community College, NEH/NSF Fellow

“Ayni in Linguistic Fieldwork - models for participant action”

The concept of fair trade is gaining popular currency in many aspects of Northern life, and has particular resonance with the Andean concept of ayni or reciprocal labor. This talk reviews models of reciprocity in the practice of linguistic fieldwork on endangered languages, with particular attention to the high Andean context. In contexts of asymmetric power relations, ‘fair trade’ may not be enough. Cyclical rebalancing of power and resources, or pachakuti, may be necessary.

Susan E. Kalt, Ph.D. is Professor of Spanish at Roxbury Community College, a historically Black institution in Boston, Massachusetts. She is the creator of Proyecto Yachay Q’ipi, a curriculum initiative in rural Bolivia and Peru begun with seed funding from the Foundation for Endangered Languages, London, and a former Documenting Endangered Languages Fellow under a joint program of the National Endowment for the Humanities/National Science Foundation.

Co-sponsored by the Humanities Institute and CLAS Working Group Continuity and Change in the Andes and Amazonia and Honors and Scholars.

Thursday, Nov. 12   1:30-3:00 p.m.  Humanities Institute Knight House

Miguel Garcia

Miguel Garcia, Graduate Student Department of Spanish and Portuguese, The Ohio State University

"Peruvian Amazonian Spanish: an examination of its intonational system"

My dissertation work focuses on Peruvian Amazonian Spanish (PAS), a yet understudied variety in the literature of Hispanic Linguistics. Particularly, I examine PAS intonational system and its interaction with the structure of the sentences, with the ultimate goal of presenting an integrated analysis of PAS intonation. In this talk, I will provide details about my dissertation and the motivation of the study. Furthermore, I will describe my research questions, and will include an initial analysis of the data collected in the city of Pucallpa, Peru, in the summer of 2014. I will also offer some preliminary results, and will discuss the overall implications of this research. With this dissertation, I hope to contribute to the recent and growing body of research on PAS by offering a unified analysis of PAS intonation based on experimental methods, going beyond early descriptions. Finally, this research gives insight into why PAS sounds different from other Spanish varieties. 

Miguel Garcia is a fifth-year Ph.D. student in Hispanic Linguistics in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, with concentration in Phonetics & Phonology, and Sociolinguistics. For the past years, he has been conducting research fieldwork in the Amazonian region of Peru, and also in Lima.  

Thursday, Dec. 3  Humanities Institute Knight House 

Devin Grammon

Devin Grammon, Graduate Student Department of Spanish and Portuguese

“Language learning and volunteer tourism in Cusco, Peru”

Service learning and volunteer tourism draw thousands of students to the Andes each year and offer them opportunities to work and build relationships with local communities. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in Cusco, Peru, where these programs are increasingly combined with second language study (Spanish and/or Quechua) and have become popular study abroad options for North American students. In this talk, Devin will discuss his dissertation research on language learning and volunteering in Cusco which addresses the sociocultural and linguistic impacts of participation in these endeavors and the ways in which students learn and recognize contested language practices in/through their second languages.  He will discuss findings from eight weeks of dissertation research in 2015 as well as his plans for 12 months of research beginning in January of 2016. 

Devin Grammon is a Ph.D. candidate in the Hispanic Linguistics program in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese at OSU. Devin's academic interests are in sociocultural linguistics, second language studies, and the languages and cultures of Southern Peru. During the past three (Northern Hemisphere) summers, Devin has been in Cusco, Peru, either studying Southern Quechua or conducting research for his dissertation. Earlier this semester, Devin was awarded a Fulbright-Hays DDRA fellowship which will take him back to Cusco in 2016 to conduct a year of fieldwork for his dissertation.

Andean  Music Ensemble
OSU Andean Music Ensemble

Our Autumn 2015 repertoire is available for free listening and downloading on SoundCloud:


The Continuity and Change in the Andes and Amazonia Working Group draws on the research and teaching emphases of more than 35 faculty members and graduate students at OSU.  By providing an institutionalized forum for regular intellectual exchange, the group brings the strengths of interdisciplinary and comparative critical dialogue and inter departmental collaborations to bear on a discussion centered on enduring issues and transformations in Andean and Amazonian contexts including, among others, migration, environmental changes, urbanization, identity politics, the impact of neoliberal policies, micro-economic development, nation-state formations, food security, cultural identity and expression.

The theme of continuity and change allows the group to explore new directions in a region that encompasses nine countries representing extraordinary socio-cultural, linguistic, literary, economic, political, ethnic, historical, prehistoric, biological and environmental diversity. Interdisciplinary and interdepartmental collaborative work among faculty and graduate students will inform course and program development and promote critical discussion both among the campus community and broader Columbus community.


Michelle Wibbelsman

Michelle Wibbelsman (Assistant Professor, Spanish and Portuguese),

Kendra McSweeney

Kendra McSweeney (Associate Professor, Geography),


Alcira Dueñas (Associate Professor, History)

Alcira Duenas