LAII Events

Amazonian Cosmopolitans



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In this lecture Dr. Suzanne Oakdale will discuss her recent book, Amazonian Cosmopolitans, focused on two Brazilian indigenous leaders’ autobiographical accounts. This work is an attempt to appreciate a distinctive form of historical consciousness, which, in keeping with broader lowland patterns, is focused on bodily states. She also connects these leaders’ small Amazonian group (the Tupian-speaking Kawaiwete) to national and world events. Both men provide unique perspectives on these as they played out in the Brazilian interior over the course of their lives, especially during the decades of the 1920s-60s. Moving beyond village-centered ethnography, Dr. Oakdale looks at how these men established long or short-term relationships with many non-Kawaiwete individuals and became part of different kinds of networks as the Brazilian interior became the target of “modern” state projects. Suzanne Oakdale is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at UNM. She has done ethnographic research in the Brazilian Amazon as well as historical research about this area since 1989. She has written on Kawaiwete (formerly known as Kayabi) ritual, and autobiographical narrative in I Foresee My Life: The Ritual Performance of Autobiography in an Amazonian Community published by 2005 by the University of Nebraska Press.


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Publication Date

Spring 3-28-2022


Amazon, Brazil, Indigenous


Latin American Languages and Societies

Amazonian Cosmopolitans