Symposium on Teaching and Learning
Indigenous Languages of Latin America

Keynote Speakers

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Demetrio Cojtí Cuxil is a prominent Maya intellectual, activist, and scholar who has campaigned tirelessly through his public service and writings on behalf of Maya rights. A Kaqchikel speaker, Cojtí is known for his critiques of the neocolonial nature of Guatemalan society. His books include Problemas actuales de la identidad nacional guatemalteca (Ajpop Mayab’ Tijonik, Congreso Nacional de Educación Maya, 2005), El movimiento maya (en Guatemala) (Editorial Cholsamaj, 1997), and Políticas para la reivindicación de los Mayas de hoy (Editorial Cholsamaj, 1994). Guatemala’s deputy minister of education (2000–04), Cojtí has been a researcher and faculty member at Universidad de San Carlos and Universidad Landivar and a visiting professor at universities in the US and Spain, including Duke, Princeton, and the University of Texas at Austin. Since 2004 he has been a consultant to national and international organizations such as the President’s Commission against Racism, the Organization of American States, and the United Nations Development Programme. He holds a PhD from the University of Louvain in Belgium.

Alan Durston is associate professor of history at York University in Toronto. He studies the cultural history of the Andean region, particularly Peru, with special interests in Quechua and in language politics. Durston is the author of Pastoral Quechua: The History of Christian Translation in Colonial Peru, 1550–1650 (University of Notre Dame Press, 2007). He is currently studying the history of Quechua literature and literacy in Peru during the first half of the 20th century with a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Durston was a postdoctoral fellow at the Erasmus Institute at the University of Notre Dame and holds a PhD in anthropology from the University of Chicago.
Political Discourse in Indigenous Languages: the Case of Quechua, 11:00-12:30 pm, Hesburgh Center Auditorium

Graciela Huinao is a distinguished Mapuche-Williche writer from the South of Chile who has earned international renown for her poetry. Her verses have been translated into several languages, among them English, French, Portuguese, Swedish, and German, and she has been invited to read her poetry at universities and festivals across Latin American, the United States and Europe. In 1989 she published her first poem, “La Loika” and as she describes it, her words “flew like a bird in newspapers, magazines, and national anthologies.” In 2001, she published her first book, Walinto, a bilingual collection of poems in Spanish and Mapudungun. It was later reedited and released in a trilingual edition featuring English as well. More recently, she was one of the editors of and contributors to Hilando la memoria (Editorial Cuarto Propio, 2006), an anthology of seven Mapuche women poets that was reedited in an expanded format in 2009 to include fourteen contributors.  Her current projects include a novel titled Desde el fogón de una casa de putas de williche.
Cosponsored by the Worldview Initiative, Office of the President, University of Notre Dame.

Bruce Mannheim, professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan, is a leading linguistic anthropologist who specializes in Quechua. His work focuses on the intersection of language and cultural and social relationships. He is author of The Dialogic Emergence of Culture (coedited with Dennis Tedlock, University of Illinois Press, 1995) and The Language of the Inka since the European Invasion (University of Texas Press, 1991) and is completing books on Quechua poetry and narrative. His most recent research is a historical study of Quechua texts as indices of national formation. Formerly the director of Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Michigan, Mannheim has been the recipient of both Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships. He holds a PhD in anthropology and in linguistics from the University of Chicago.

Camilla Townsend is professor of history at Rutgers University. Her research centers on the relations between the indigenous and Europeans throughout the Americas and is increasingly focused on history and language. Since 1998, she has immersed herself in the study of Nahuatl, the Aztec language, and in 16th- and 17th-century writings by Native American historians. Her books include Here in This Year: Seventeenth-Century Nahuatl Annals of the Tlaxcala-Puebla Valley (Stanford University Press, 2010), Malintzin’s Choices: An Indian Woman in the Conquest of Mexico (University of New Mexico Press, 2006), and Tales of Two Cities: Race and Economic Culture in Early Republican North and South America (University of Texas Press, 2000). Townsend is a 2010 Guggenheim Fellow and the previous recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship as well as a Franklin Grant. She holds a PhD in history from Rutgers University.
The Political Language of the Aztec Histories, 5:00-6:30 pm, Hesburgh Center Auditorium

Sebastián van Doesburg is the academic coordinator of the Francisco de Burgoa Library at the Universidad Autónoma de Oaxaca and director of the Casa de la Ciudad, a research and cultural center in Oaxaca, Mexico. He specializes in the study of the pictographic texts produced by indigenous communities in Oaxaca, interpreting them in light of current indigenous communities. Van Doesburg has done extensive fieldwork among the Cuicatec and Mazatec of Oaxaca. His book Códices Cuicatecos (Editorial Miguel Angel Porrúa and Secretaría de Asuntos Indígenas, 2001) received the Antonio García Cubas Prize from the Mexican National Council of the Arts (CONACULTA) and the 2001 National Institute for Anthropology and History (INAH) prize for best book in anthropology. Also an anthropology research associate at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, van Doesburg is a 2010 Guggenheim Fellow. He holds a PhD from the University of Leiden.
A Thousand Years of History: Writing and Cultural Reproduction in Indigenous Oaxaca, 11:00-12:30 pm, Hesburgh Center Auditorium