Oct 09 2013
Eighty-five Amazonia specialists from thirteen countries gathered in Buttrick Hall March 7–10, 2013, for the international conference of the Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America (SALSA), hosted by President Beth Conklin, chair of the Department of Anthropology. Scholars presented papers in nine panels that examined topics ranging from shamanism and cosmology to climate change, forest conservation policies, and state-sponsored extractivism. Renato Athias, coordinator of the Museums of the Joaquim Nabuco Foundation based in Recife, Brazil, and professor of anthropology at the Federal University of Pernambuco, presented a special exhibit of newly rediscovered photographs by the renowned ethnographer Curt Nimuendaju, from a 1927 expedition to indigenous communities in the Rio Negro region of northern Brazil. Anthony Seeger, professor emeritus of ethnomusicology at UCLA and former director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Folkways Recordings, gave the keynote address. His lecture and musical performance, titled “Speech, Music, and Place: From the Grand Old Opry to the Grander, Older Amazon and Orinoco,” was followed by Brazilian music and dancing with Trio Ginga, a Nashville band led by percussionist Dan Sherrill, with carioca lead singer, Kenya.
Following the SALSA conference, geographer Brent Millikan, Amazon program director for the research and advocacy organization International Rivers, led a two-day workshop on Amazonian environmental issues. On March 12, Millikan presented a campus lecture, “Damming Amazonia: People, Rivers, and Resistance.”
CLAS, the Department of Anthropology, College of Arts and Science, Divinity School, Program in African-American and Diaspora Studies, Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and Environment, and the Climate Change Research Network sponsored the conference.