Oct. 1 Margarita Huayhua

“On the Road of Life: Social Oppression in the Southern Andes”

Margarita Huayhua photo.

DATE: Friday, October 1
TIME: 4:00-5:00pm
LOCATION: 354 Academic Center, Ellicott Complex

On the Road of Life examines social interactions in Peru to show how a qualitative social and linguistic hierarchy is produced between Quechua-dominant speakers and Spanish-dominant speakers, in a transportation service, clinic, Quechua household, and the Peruvian parliament.

In everyday interactions participants evaluate each other’s behavior through the ascription of attributes such as “irrational,” “campesino,” or “animal-like,” all used to scale interlocutors as racial inferiors. These interactions illustrate how hierarchical relationships are reproduced in everyday practice, beyond the volitions or self-ascriptions of individuals, outside of their conscious intent. These interactions are permeated by the large-scale social category of “race” in ways that do not fit traditional scholarly views of race and ethnicity in the Andes. The racial and ethnic ascriptive labels discussed in the traditional literature (for example, “mestizo” and “criollo”) are at best loose labels for positions in the hierarchy created interactionally. Racial hierarchy in the Andes is part of the “interaction order,” falsifying the traditional view of race in the Andean region as a set of gradient social positionalities.