Hi everyone! And welcome to my blog: Como Se Llama? I hope you follow me as I head off to Peru this summer and as I work towards completing my thesis for Anthropology. Thanks!


I’ve had blogs with WordPress before (with no affiliation to Bryn Mawr) to my own detriment. Both times my blogs were deleted without any warning whatsoever, and I lost several posts. However, I am willing to give WordPress another try through the Bryn Mawr Blog as it might provide a more stable server. We will see.

The purpose of this blog, and the blogs before it, is to provide me with a source through which I can relate to friends and relatives my ongoings in South America over the summer and the thesis-writing process that will consume much of my time over the next year.

So what exactly will I be doing in Peru for six weeks? That’s what everyone’s been asking me, and when I answer with “ethnographical research” because I’m tired of explaining the whole nine yards all I get in reply are a tilt of the head and a quizical expression. So. I am going to Peru as a part of a bioarcheological/ethnographical research project to study the role of violence in society in the regions of Andahuaylas and Ayacucho. The bioarcheologists will be excavating a serious of mass burial sites and caves in the area, while I will be conversing with and interviewing residents of these towns, hoping to shed some light on how violence has changed and impacted their societies.

I am also using this project as a jumping off point for my senior thesis which will be about Sendero Luminoso (another one of those topics where I get the glazed over eyes and contemplative nodding). Sendero was a Maoist political group in Peru during the 1970s and 80s that had the goal of uniting peasants against the Central Government in retaliation to unfair treatment and lack of civil supports. The group was started by a professor, Guzmán, from the local university and he had the intention of educating the occupants of rural Peru so that they could enable themselves against the government. Of course, things didn’t stay that simple for long as violence was quick to escalate, causing the government to declare a state of emergency within a year of its first violent actions.

In 1992 Guzmán was arrested, which lead to the disbanding of the party. The Central Government which had undergone several changes of its own regained full power, but not before the towns of Andahuaylas and Ayacucho had been permanenty affected by fifteen-odd years of a militant presence.

My research will include: conversations and interviews on film with locals, interviews with professors from the Univeristy of Ayacucho, observations of daily life in each location, participant observation of excavations and, of course, extensive reading.

I’m really excited to get out and do some ‘real live fieldwork.’ I’ve done marginal amounts for class assignments and one large semester-long project where I conducted research at a retirement community center, but I have never done an anthropological research project of this caliber before. I’m looking forward to the challenge and also working with some really great people. I see this as an opportunity for me to learn A LOT about anthropology and cultures, research and other things I don’t even know I’m going to learn yet. I’m going into this project with an open mind and a blank pocket notebook and hopefully by the end I’ll have a fantastic impression of a great country and a pocket notebook full of scribbles.

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