History of the SAAS

The 2017 conference in Jackson, Mississippi will be the fifth meeting of the Society for Amazonian & Andean Studies.

  • In 2008, the inaugural Southeast Conference on Amazonian and Andean studies was hosted by the Program for Caribbean and Latin American Studies, together with the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, the Department of Anthropology, and the Department of Languages, Linguistics and Comparative Literature, Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton. The 2008 conference featured keynote speakers Dr. Regina Harrison (University of Maryland, College Park) and Dr. Norman Whitten (University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign). In addition, FAU also hosted the traveling art exhibition “Of Rage and Redemption: The Art of Oswaldo Guayasamín.” Participants’ enthusiasm for founding a national association led to the re-naming of the organization as the Society for Amazonian and Andean Studies and the decision to hold a biennial conference.
  • The 2010 conference was held at the University of Florida (UF), and featured two keynote speakers: distinguished professor of anthropology at UF Dr. Michael Moseley, and professor of anthropology at the University of Maryland Dr. Janet Chernela. The conference events were planned in tandem with the Harn Museum of Art, which a Dr. Madelyn M. Lockhardt Faculty Focus Exhibition curated by conference organizer Maya Stanfield-Mazzi, entitled “The Versatile Vessel: Ceramics of Ancient Peru.” Two acclaimed Peruvian artists also attended and displayed their work at the conference: Nicario Jiménez, who creates multi-figural tableaux in portable boxes known as retables, and Flora Zárate, who creates cloth relief sculptures known as arpilleras. The conference also featured film screenings and a poetry reading in memory of anthropologist Dr. Elayne Zorn.
  • The 2013  conference was held at the University of Central Florida (CF), Orlando and co-sponsored by the Rosen College of Hospitality Management and the CF Latin American Studies Program. The conference featured two keynote speakers, one from Amazonian and one from Andean studies, and a film screening and poetry reading.
  • The 2015 conference was held at Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge and was hosted by LSU’s Departments of Geography & Anthropology, Art History, Hispanic Studies, and Foreign Languages & Literatures. The conference featured a keynote speaker, Dr. Gary Urton, who discussed Yupay: The Culture of Counting, Accounting, and Recounting in Ancient Peru.