Sustainable Economics, Cultural Preservation, Indigenous Inequality and Ethnic Conflict-Resolution in Lima, Peru

Hi everyone!,

Im a Latin American Studies major at the College and my research project this summer involves an ethnographic study of pottery production and indigenous migration in the capitol city of Lima, Peru. I am very greatful and absolutely thrilled to have been awarded with the Charles Center Summer Research Scholarship that will allow me to visit multiple cities in Peru including remote indigenous communities to study ceramic production. I hope to learn a great deal more about the conditions that migrants from these communities must face when they move to the capitol city of Lima.

I will be looking at contemporary local ceramic production and distribution as a method of sustainable economics, a site of cultural preservation, and a tool to understanding traditional skills and lifestyles of the indigenous. Migrants typically face the roughest obstacles in obtaining upward mobility because they lack education and other skills to help them survive in an urban metropolis. Consequently, the lack of education or skill is seen as as an ethnic trait which can result in discrimination and conflict. What is lost in continued migration and assimilation of the indigenous into the city is the wisdom and knowledge they hold about methods and skills for self-subsistence.

I hope to discover if having inner city ceramic production that is geared towards local consumption is feasable/will be a good investment to stimulate economic growth and opportunities for migrant potters or people who wish to learn the skill and preserve the tradition of hand made pottery. I will conduct archival research at libraries and musuems, interviews with potters and professors and an ethnographic observation of shantytowns in Lima. I will travel to the cities of Pucalpa and Iquitos to visit the pottery studios of the Shipibo Indian community in the Amazon. I will study their methods and find out more about their preservation of traditions.

My research this summer will culminate into a paper in which I discuss the results of my findings and potential for local ceramic production as a possible method for positive community development that respects cultural traditions of sustainability. I hope to take what I learn and apply it to a future question or project that will work towards improving life for migrants and helps alleviate poor social conditions that come out of ethnic conflicts.I hope to accomplish these things and learn more about the artistic process as well.

Thanks! If you have any questions comments or suggestions let me know!