What’s Left in Latin America?
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What’s Left in Latin America? was the dual-purpose title of a year-long interdisciplinary lecture series organized by the Latin American & Caribbean Studies Program (LACS) that attracted prominent speakers to U-M to consider the general shift to the left in the Latin American political arena, and new political landscapes brought about by recent elections in Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile. The series also addressed “what is left?” of the resources, structures, and institutions that have shaped these societies. Speakers included Ernesto Laclau (University of Essex), and Enrique Dussel (Universidad Autonoma de Mexico), among others.
Also of note in LACS this year, David Frye (LACS program associate and 2001 National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellow) recently published a translation and abridgment of the monumental colonial text First New Chronicle and Good Government, written between 1600 and 1616 by Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala. Guaman Poma was a native Peruvian who grew up speaking Quechua, and his original text is full of Quechua words and constructions. Frye attended Quechua language classes in order to complete the translation. Kenneth Mills, an expert on colonial Latin America from the University of Toronto, noted that, “Generations of scholars have grappled with the challenge of interpreting the person and project of the native Andean chronicler Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala. This . . . translation . . . will jar even seasoned scholars, who thought they knew Guaman Poma. . . . Most significantly . . . (Frye) has allowed Felipe Guaman Poma to speak for himself.”
David Frye is program associate at the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and adjunct assistant professor of anthropology at U-M. He received his PhD from Princeton in 1989 and is the author of Indians into Mexicans: History and Identity in a Mexican Town (University of Texas Press, 1996).