My research in the field of Religious Studies centres on the Andean region in South America, above all the time of the Spanish conquest and colonial era. As the Spanish decided very soon after the conquest that it would be best to catechise the indigenous peoples in their own languages, there is a large corpus of linguistic and textual data, mostly produced by Christian priests, but also some by indigenous authors.
Topics I am particularly interested in are, for example, the transmission of Christian concepts into Amerindian languages and the reception by the indigenous population. Apart from a knowledge of the Amerindian languages used (I focus on Quechua) the combination of a range of disciplines, with their methodologies and theoretical approaches, is necessary to analyse these data, e.g. linguistics, ethnohistory and religious studies.
Questions I address in my work focus on the mutual influences and fusions of European and Andean beliefs and practices in a colonial setting. Thereby I hope to contribute to a better understanding of the processes of colonialisation, the interactions between colonisers and colonised, the problematics of studying the origin of ‘mixed’ beliefs and practices, and the influence such ‘hybrid’ developments have had on contemporary religion.
Initiatives and projects
Co-founder of the research group Translating Christianities at the University of Stirling.
Senior mentor of the School’s Crossing Cultures research group.
Book project in progress on The Power of Words: Conversion and Subversion through Christian Quechua Discourse in Colonial Peru.
International project in planning stage: The trans/mission of Christian concepts into the languages and cosmovisions of indigenous peoples: a comparative study of 16th-18th century colonial Latin American texts and contexts, in collaboration with colleagues from Germany, Mexico and Brazil.
Some of these topics are addressed in my undergraduate teaching programme, such as an overview of Andean Religion in the culture strands of Spanish and Latin American Studies first year modules (SPA9A1/A2) and an Option module on Andean Myths (SPA9AM) open to Spanish/Latin American Studies and Religious Studies Honours students.
I welcome enquiries particularly in areas which interrelate two or more of the following fields: Amerindian Studies, ethnohistory, indigenous religions and mission, hybridity and syncretism, indigenous languages of the Andes – you can contact me directly using the button below.
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