Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Prof. Cárcamo-Huechante's Fellowship


Prof. Cárcamo-Huechante: a Fellow of the National Humanities Center

Professor Luis Cárcamo-Huechante, a faculty member of Spanish and Portuguese and Native American and Indigenous Studies at UT Austin, has been named a Fellow of the National Humanities Center (NHC) for the academic year 2013-2014. The Center annually admits forty fellows from over four hundred applicants, who work and meet within its walls to create an intellectual community as they pursue their own research and writing ( His selection as a Fellow  of this confers further distinction on the already stellar academic career of Prof. Cárcamo-Huechante, and it brings honor to the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and to the University of Texas at Austin.

While in residence at the NHC, Prof. Cárcamo-Huechante will complete the manuscript of his current book, The Sounds of an Indigenous Nation: Sonic Poetics and Politics in Contemporary Mapuche Culture in Chile. This highly original, ground-breaking study will have broad implications for conceptualizing the agency of indigenous people in a globalized world, even as it offers a theorization of "sonic poetics, " which will broaden the field of sound theory to include non-Western cultural production, as he explains in his grant proposal: "My research argues that Mapuches have creatively utilized and appropriated sounds and their resonances in various cultural forms to revitalize ancestral traditions and to articulate the disharmonies of contemporary social conflicts in neoliberal Chile. I reveal how Mapuche cultural soundscapes are constructed through an array of competing and often disparate sources, such as human and animal voices, the sounds of nature, the “noise” of modern machinery, and the fusion of native instruments with urban music. In this study, I make two significant contributions. First, I establish a critical, intercultural understanding of indigenous sound imaginaries that resist the colonizing forces of neoliberalism. Second, I introduce the concept of “sonic poetics,” which is based on a Mapuche understanding of aural and environmental surroundings. This approach challenges prevailing anthropocentric studies of indigenous Latin American studies that have primarily focused on an orality-writing dyad, and have inadvertently dismissed the complexity of natural, animal, and technological sounds in native cultures (Antonio Cornejo Polar, 1994; Martin Lienhard, 1991)."

Professor Cárcamo-Huechante is a member of the Comunidad de Historia Mapuche, a collective of Mapuche researchers based in Chile. At UT Austin, he is an Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, member of the Advisory Council of Native American and Indigenous Studies, and an affiliated faculty of the Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS) and the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice.

Austin, March 2013.