Current Institutional Affiliation
Visiting Assistant Professor and Research Associate, Anthropology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2007
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, New York University (NYU)
Capitalist Relations: Kinship, Tourist Art, and Trade Networks in an Extended Andean Community

Cochas Chico is a Peruvian peasant community whose members want, in their words, to “progress” and “modernize” –but what exactly does that mean? According to some Cochasinos “modernity” has come to Cochas, but occasionally leaves as well. This case is particularly interesting as many Cochasinos want their children to be “professionals” instead of peasants and, as is the case in other Andean communities, vehemently eschew the idea of their indigenousness, a state-of-being they locate in the past; yet their chosen vehicle to capitalist modernity reproduces rural Andean culture through its idealized depictions, collective kin-based mode of production, and link to national folkloric history. This project examines how and why a geographically-dispersed cooperating network of actors who identify as members of a peasant community reproduce their families and peoplehood and pursue their goals of transforming themselves into “modern” people, through the collective production of symbols of rural peasant identity. It also asks how cosmopolitan and national discourses of indigeneity and neoliberalism affect local constructions of collective identity, reproductive strategies, and goals. To investigate these questions, it is necessary to study Cochasinos’ practices of social reproduction, economic strategies, goals and understandings of their activities, and their participation in and understanding of discourses that interpellate peasants and artisans.