History of SAAS


2008     Florida Atlantic University / Boca Raton, FL

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.

2010     University of Florida / Gainesville, FL

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 retablos, 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.

2013     University of Central Florida / Orlando, FL

The 2013  conference was held at the University of Central Florida (UCF), 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, as well as a film screening and poetry reading.

2015     Louisiana State University / Baton Rouge, FL

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.”

2017     Millsaps College / Jackson, MI

The 2017 conference was held at Millsaps College in Jackson and was co-sponsored by Millsaps’ Departments of Sociology-Anthropology and Modern Languages. The conference featured a keynote speaker, Dr. Helaine Silverman, who spoke on the topic “Inserting an Inca in the Plaza: Change and Continuity in the World Heritage Urban Center of Cuzco.”

2019 University of Alabama / Tuscaloosa, AL

The 2019 conference was held at the University of Alabama and was sponsored by the Department of Anthropology, with support from the College of Arts & Sciences,  Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies, and the Alabama Museum of Natural History. A keynote lecture was delivered by Andean archaeologist and food scholar Dr. Christine Hastorf of the University of California, Berkeley: “Chthonic Powers and Earth Beings at Chiripa, Bolivia.”

2022 James Madison University / Harrisonburg, VA

The 2022 conference was held at James Madison University and was sponsored by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology with support from the Dean’s Office of the College of Arts & Letters and Latin American, Latinx, and Caribbean Studies. Distinguished keynote speaker Dr. Sonia Alconini from the University of Virginia presented “Rethinking Andean and Amazonian relations: The taypi yungas as spaces of encounter, ethnogenesis and sociopolitical transformations.” This was the first year the conference was offered in a hybrid format.