Quechua and Representations of Indigenous Culture in Peruvian National Identity: Final Post

After a considerable delay due to changes in the Ministerio de Cultura with the advent of a new presidency, I have finally received e-mail responses from my remaining interviewees and can safely post the findings of my summer research without fear of excluding significant aspects of it!  Since my last post, I have secured and conducted e-mail interviews with Rodolfo Cerrón-Palomino (a Peruvian linguist who has contributed significantly to the study of Quechua, and whose research I have consulted frequently over the course of my investigation) and with Fernando Hermoza, the current president of the Academia Mayor de la Lengua Quechua (an organization central to my project, responsible for regulating the use of the Quechua language in Peru).  These two interviews balance one another nicely, as the first represents a more factual, academically based interpretation of Quechua, whereas the second represents a mythologized and idealized interpretation of Quechua within the framework of a national identity project.   Cerrón-Palomino answered my questions from a strictly linguistic point of view, discounting the idea that Quechua originated in Cuzco and discrediting much of the rhetoric surrounding the AMLQ’s appropriation of Quechua; Hermoza, on the other hand, stated that “the Quechua language today signifies and represents the expression and cultural identity of Peruvians, the only live and vibrant ancestral legacy that runs in the veins of all the inheritors of the millennial Inka culture” (translated).  He also supported the Academia’s policies and their attempts to ensure the “purity, rescue, defense and diffusion of the Language” (translated) in its written and spoken forms.  Both of these interviews will therefore be highly useful in my attempt to separate fact from fiction in the tightly wound Peruvian national narrative.

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The end is here!

The end of summer is here and my research has finished! This summer has been an incredible learning experience for me. Not only have I learned a vast amount of molecular techniques, I have learned how to be more independent on my research.

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