Current Institutional Affiliation
Associate Professor, Anthropology, University of Florida

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 1998
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, Columbia University
Performing the State, Educating the Frontier: Schools and the Moral Ethos of 'Return' in Peru's Upper Huallaga Valley

It has been said that a moral ethos II animates and legitimates II all state forms. Yet what character does moral authority take in frontier zones at the moment the state asserts its presence? I intend to explore, through the prism of the public school, the drama of the Peruvian state's return to dominance in the Upper Huallaga valley, a region abandoned during the 1980s to Maoist insurgency and narcotics trafficking. Seeking to examine the role of routine and ritual in state legitimation, I will spend ten months adolescents in the and their Huallaga participation conducting in field parades research and public focused on ceremonies the civic education of high school adolescents and their participation in parades and public ceremonies of allegiance to the nation-state. I compliment my empirical findings with two months of archival research in Lima dedicated to tracing the historical development of state ritual forms currently performed in Peruvian public schools nation-wide. By studying everyday performances where the Peruvian state comes to life as an idea and accrues force, my research will make a valuable contribution to recent interdisciplinary debates on state/subject formation and to work in anthropology, historical sociology and critical theory that explores the mystical foundations of authority.