I was born here: Community and Belonging in an Afro-Bolivian town

Chuck Sturtevant
MPhil in Ethnographic Documentary, University of Manchester
Anglo-Bolivian Society award winning thesis 2015
Tuesday 5 April 18:30
Joint presentation with the
Institute of Latin American Studies
Senate House, Bedford Room G37, Malet Street, WC1E 7HU
Tickets: Non-members £8, Members £6, Students (with valid ID) £5
Refreshments and nibbles included.
Send email for booking to: anglobolivian@gmail.com

Chuck Sturtevant carried out several months of fieldwork, producing both a written ethnography and an ethnographic film, in the town of Chicaloma, in the Yungas of La Paz. Chicaloma is widely known as an Afro-Bolivian community. Its Saya dancers and drummers are known throughout Bolivia, and its football team is recognised throughout the Yungas. But within the confines of the community, this identification is hotly contested. Those who claim descent from enslaved Africans emphasise their rootedness in the area and their connections to family and friends within the community; they trace their family histories through parents and uncles who lived nearby, recall their efforts to revive Afro-Bolivian dance and culture, narrate their role in building up the infrastructure of the community, and recount their exploits on the football pitch. Meanwhile, those residents of Chicaloma who do not claim descent from enslaved Africans have different ideas of belonging and what it means to be from Chicaloma.  In this presentation, which includes a documentary film, Chuck will talk about his experiences and focus in particular on ideas of belonging and identity in this Afro-Bolivian community – an area often absent from Bolivian political debate.