Oral history research opportunity in Cañar, Ecuador

judy blankenship's picture
Call for Volunteers
January 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Indigenous Studies, Latin American and Caribbean History / Studies, Oral History, Social History / Studies

From the 16th century, when Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Pizarro was “entrusted" with the present-day Cañari territory "along with all those living in it,” to the mid-twentieth century, the social, economic and cultural life of Cañar has been dominated by the largest single landholding of southern Ecuador. Agrarian reform did not come to Canãr until the 1970’s, by which time an order of Catholic Church nuns were the landholders. Today, Cañari elders still have vivid memories of growing up and working on what was essentially a feudal estate. However, if not captured soon, this window into a vital part of colonial history will be lost. I am eager to capture stories of Hacienda Guantug in a long-term documentation project that already includes historic photographs, recordings, videos, and articles and theses.  

This is a great opportunity for a researcher or graduate student interested in working on an oral history project with an indigenous community that has not yet told the story of Hacienda Guantug. The model is Enrique Mayer’s Ugly Stories of the Peruvian Agrarian Reform (Duke University Press, 2009) where Mayer interviewed not only the peones, but also the overseers, landlords, and agents of the agrarian reform. With my long history in Cañar, I can facilitate necessary access to the networks of respondents in both town and country.



Contact Info: 

I am a three-time Fulbright fellow, photographer, writer and coordinator of the Archivo Cultural de Cañar. Since the early 1990's I have collaboratively documented the indigenous communities of Cañar, coordinated several Smithsonian projects, and published two books with University of Texas Press. Since 2005 I live in Ecuador for six months every year, and since 2012 I've worked intensively on creating a digital archive.