Interculturalism in the Andes: An Intersectional Analysis of Ethnicity and Gender
As a 2005-2006 Fulbright Scholar, I completed a Master of Arts in Cultural Politics/International Relations, La Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, Quito, Ecuador (2007).
Our master's program cohort on one of our many learning excursions outside of the academy and into local communities.
Living in Quito, Otavalo, and Cotacachi off and on for three years, I studied the intercultural theory and praxis generated by the indigenous/Afro political movement in Ecuador (as led by groups such as Packakutik, la CONAIE and FENOCIN).
I worked in the Women's Departments of the first-ever and second-ever indigenous mayors of Ecuador, Mario Conejo (Otavalo) and Auki Tituaña Males (Cotacachi), as well as La Comité de Mujeres de la UNORCAC (La Unión de Organizaciones Campesinas e Indígenas de Cotacachi).
The municipal headquarters on the main plaza in Otavalo, Ecuador.
In order to conduct policy-focused research on interculturalism relevant to the communities creating intercultural political platforms, I asked the mayors what kind of analysis might be most useful to them. Given my location in the Women's Departments, they suggested studying the extent to which their intercultural political agendas addressed gender inequality; this topic became the focus of my master's thesis.
After graduating with distinction, my thesis was selected for book publication.
During my three years studying/working in Quito, Otavalo, and Cotacachi, I often lived and spent time with my two families there:
the Pachacama family (Quito) and the Cachiguango family (Peguche/Otavalo).