Celebrating 50 years of CAS


CAS 50th anniversary networking event schedule

On April 3rd 2019, fifteen colleagues from across disciplines at St Andrews University took part in the CAS 50th anniversary interdisciplinary networking event, sharing their latest research. This event was generously sponsored by GCRF SFC Impact and Knowledge Exchange funds as part of the CAS project: ‘Celebrating 50 years of Latin American Studies at St Andrews: sharing scholarship and impactful knowledge beyond the academic community’.

On the cover of New Scientist

Professor Sabine Hyland, of the Department of Social Anthropology, is the cover star of the latest issue of the New Scientist, which features her research decoding the ancient writing system of the Incas. Sabine has partially deciphered the system which uses individual cords known as “khipus”, potentially shedding light on the mysterious South American civilisation.Her discoveries open up the possibility of translating the mysterious Inca string writing, which would dramatically increase current understanding of Inca civilisation – the largest indigenous empire of the Americas.

You can read the article featuring the work of Professor Hyland here: Hyland in New Scientist


Ana María Lorandi

“Con una tristeza inmensa la Sección Etnohistoria de la Universidad de Buenos Aires informa que el día de ayer, 30 de enero, falleció la Dra. Ana María Lorandi.

Ana María supo, a lo largo de su extensísima trayectoria, combinar la excelencia académica con la excelencia en gestión. En el primer aspecto debemos destacar sus estudios arqueológicos pioneros para Santiago del Estero, pero sin duda su aporte más relevante fue contribuir de manera decisiva al desarrollo de la Etnohistoria en la Argentina; en sus propias palabras un tren andando al que ella se subió entre fines de la década de 1960 y principios de la de 1970 a partir de sus contactos con John Murra y Nathan Wachtel. Con la publicación de una cantidad impresionante de artículos y libros sobre el tema, Ana María impulsó una nueva forma de estudiar y comprender la realidad social del Tucumán Colonial y porque no del sur de Bolivia, estudios que marcan caminos hasta el día de hoy.

En lo que a la gestión se refiere, Ana María integró en diversas ocasiones el Consejo Directivo de la Facultad de Filosofía y Letras y dirigió el Departamento de Ciencias Antropológicas. Estuvo al frente del Instituto de Ciencias Antropológicas desde 1984 hasta 1991 dándole su fisonomía actual, y dirigió la Sección Etnohistoria desde su creación hasta el año 2014. Sin duda la Sección fue el gran amor de Ana María, desde allí no solo desarrolló el aspecto más destacado de su vida académica, también obtuvo subsidios que contribuyeron a la inserción de tesistas y becarios quienes con el tiempo conformaron y conforman sólidos equipos de trabajo.

Ana María tenía una personalidad fuerte, era intuitiva, perspicaz e inteligente. Querible y querida por todos los que la conocimos- Sin duda la vamos a extrañar.

Carlos Zanolli
Director Sección Etnohistoria
Universidad de Buenos Aires”

Concert of 19th Century Bolivian Music

St Andrews, October 2017. Sung by Jenny Cardenas Villanueva.

Tom Zuidema (1927-2016)

It is with sadness that we relay the death of Tom Zuidema.

Tom was a towering figure in the field of Andean studies, who trained generations of students who went on to be leading scholars in the archaeology, ethnohistory, and ethnography of the region. Born in the Netherlands in 1927, Tom joined the Anthropology department at the University of Illinois in Anthropology in 1964 and was a Professor Emeritus since his retirement in 1993. Tom also held appointments at the UIUC Center for Advanced Study and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. In 2013 he was honored by the College of Liberal Arts and Science by inclusion in their Centennial Gallery of Excellence.

Tom was appointed by Queen Juliana to the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences. He received the François Premier Medal of the Collège de France. He is the recipient of multiple doctorates honoris causa, from institutions including the Pontificia Universidad Catolica, Lima, Peru (1993), the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, Peru (2003) and the University Cuzco, Peru (2006). The University of Bologna, Italy, where Tom frequently lectured in recent years, appointed him to life membership in its Center of Advanced Studies. He received a “Mención de Honor” from the International Congress of Americanists. In 2008 he received from the President of the Republic of Peru the Order of “The Sun of Perú” in the rank of Comendador.

An Online conversation was held in June of 2012 through the Open Anthropology Cooperative Press website with Professor Joanna Overing entitled:

An Amazonian Question of Ironies and the Grotesque the arrogance of cosmic deceit, and the humility of everyday life

The Rubenstein Collection

The Rubenstein Collection, comprising 1200 books belonging to the late Dr Steven Lee Rubenstein (1962-2012), is an addition to the Library’s collection on Anthropology, Latin American Studies, and the Social Sciences more generally. Dr Rubenstein was a Reader in Latin American Anthropology in the School of Cultures, Languages, and Area Studies at the University of Liverpool. He was an inspiring colleague, warm and generous friend, a caring mentor, and a great friend of the Centre for Amerindian, Latin American, and Caribbean Studies (CAS) at St Andrews.

Dr Rubenstein’s research was based on over forty months of ethnographic fieldwork among Shuar people, an indigenous group of Amazonian Ecuador. His library collection encompasses his interests in contrasting systems of power, particularly in how different modes of colonialism produce different subjects and organizational forms (e.g. 2001, 2012). In addition, he made important contributions to women’s studies (2004a); circulation and power (2006); and political ecology (2004b). Among his noted works are also two books, the edited volumeBorder Crossings: Transnational American Anthropology(2009, co-edited with Kathleen Fine-Dare) and Alejandro Tsakimp: A Shuar Healer in the Margins of History (2002). The wide disciplinary scope of his collection reflects his steadfast conviction that anthropology contributes to broad discussions that traverse the social sciences and humanities.

Steve was widely appreciated for his collegiality and concern for younger scholars. At conferences, he inevitably could be found sitting in the hotel lobby, surrounded by students and colleagues, talking and offering advice and insights into personal and professional aspects of life as an anthropologist. Carrying on his spirit, in 2013, the Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America (SALSA) created “Conversations in the Lobby.” This is a now traditional event at SALSA’s sequisannual conferences, in which an established scholar opens a collective discussion about the kind of personal and professional questions about which Steve cared and conversed so generously. In addition, SALSA has established a Memorial Scholarship in his name [http://www.salsa-tipiti.org/news/steven-lee-rubenstein-memorial-scholarship/]. One of Steve’s most anonymous yet extraordinary contributions was in his role as dedicated Wikepedian [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Slrubenstein], responsible for over 30,000 edits including corrections and contribution toward some of the most trafficked topics on anthropology-related pages.

Steve is remembered for his incorrigible compassion for humanity and knowledge, his wit, and his insistence on rigor and creativity. To honour his memory and his scholarship, CAS held an international conference, ‘Steve Rubenstein and the Neo-colonial Frontier’ in 2014.

The Rubenstein Collection came to St Andrews through Dr Juan Pablo Sarmiento Barletti(formerly in the Department of Social Anthropology). The University is extremely grateful to Ken and Francine Rubenstein, and Dr Daniela Peluso (University of Kent) for generously donating this portion of Dr Rubenstein’s collection to St Andrews.


2012 On the Importance of Visions among the Amazonian Shuar. Current Anthropology 53(1): 39-79.

2009 with Fine-Dare, Kathleen S. (eds) Border Crossings: Transnational Americanist Anthropology. University of Nebraska Press.

2006 Circulation, Accumulation, and the Power of Shuar Shrunken Heads. Cultural

Anthropology 22(3): 357-399.

2004a Fieldwork and the Erotic Economy on the Colonial Frontier. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 29(4): 1041-1071.

2004b Steps to a Political Anthropology of Amazonia. Tipití 2(2): 131-176.

2002 Alejandro Tsakimp: A Shuar Healer in the Margins of History. University of Nebraska Press.

2001 Colonialism, the Shuar Federation, and the Ecuadorian State. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 19(3): 263-293.