Latin American Speakers Series 2021: Silvia Cusicanqui

On Thursday, May 27, 2021, invited scholar Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, a renowned Bolivian sociologist, historian, theorist, and activist of Aymara descent, joined us for a special lecture. Professor Rivera spoke about explore the long history of Indigenous resistance to colonialism and imperialism through her ongoing critique of Western epistemologies. In her lecture she discussed her most recent book translated into English "Ch’ixinakax utxiwa: On Decolonizing Practices and Discourses" and shared her research on the sociology of the image and the Eurocentrism of its discourse.

Born in 1949 of Aymara ancestry, sociologist and activist, SILVIA RIVERA CUSICANQUI is an activist in the Katarista movement, a political movement in Bolivia that aims to recover the political identity of the Aymara people and is also involved with the coca grower’s movement. She is one of the founders and long-time members of the Taller de Historia Oral Andina-THOA (Workshop on Andean Oral History), an independent group formed in 1983 that deals with issues of identity, and popular and indigenous social movements. In 2009, she became a member of the free independent collective Colectivx Ch’ixi in Bolivia focusing on agroecology, food sovereignty and courses on sociology of the image.

Since 1984, Cusicanqui has published several books such as Oppressed but Not Defeated: Peasant Struggles Among the Aymara and Quechua in Bolivia, 1900-1980 (1984); Borders of Coca: Colonial Epistemologies and Alternative Circuits of the Coca Leaf (2003); Sociology of the Image (2015); and Ch’ixinakax Utxiwa: A Reflection on the Practices and Discourses of Decolonization (English edition 2020); among many others.

For over three decades, Cusicanqui has been professor of Sociology at the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés in La Paz, where she is now Emeritus Professor. She is a frequently invited speaker at various universities including New York University, University of Austin, Columbia University, University of Pittsburg, Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar in Quito, and The School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences in Paris, among many others.

This session was presented in partnership with Indigenous Creation Studio MVS. 

Using Format