Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui: Sociology of the Image. A View from Andean History


Photo/Foto: Frances Pollitt

Sociology of the Image. A View from Andean History

This keynote offered a reading of the iconography of Guamán Poma de Ayala (17th century) and Melchor María Mercado (19th century) as exponents of a theorization of Andean reality in colonial and republican times, focusing on their use of images. These images constitute a hidden text that reveals aspects not directly addressed in their writings. Building on these reflections, the speaker will argue the need to consider non-alphabetic forms of Andean discourse as a path toward understanding colonial and postcolonial experience in the Andes.


Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui is a Bolivian sociologist and activist of Aymara descent. She is a sociologist and activist with ties to the Katarista indigenous movement and the coca growers' movement. In 1983 she joined other indigenous and mestizo intellectuals in founding the Andean Oral History Workshop, an independent group devoted to issues of orality, identity, and popular and indigenous social movements, primarily in the Aymara region. She is the author of several books and has produced videos as well as documentary and fiction films. For more than two decades she has been a professor of Sociology at the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés de La Paz. She has also been a visiting professor at Columbia University in New York, the University of Texas at Austin, La Rábida (Huelva), Jujuy, and the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar in Quito. In 1990 she was a recipient of a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, and in 1993 she was named Professor Emeritus at the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés.

Background Information
  • Encuentro location (Bogotá): Auditório Virginia Gutiérrez , Posgrados Ciencias Humanas, Universidad Nacional de Colombia
  • Date: August 22, 2009
  • Country: Bolivia
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