History of SAAS

Timeline:

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.

SAAS 2024

Society for Amazonian & Andean Studies Conference 2024

The Eighth Biennial Meeting of the Society for Amazonian & Andean Studies
May 3-5, 2024

A hybrid conference hosted on the campus of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, United States (with the George Washington University virtually hosting)

The Society for Amazonian and Andean Studies (SAAS) Meeting is a biennial conference dedicated to research in the Amazonian and Andean regions of South America.

First held at Florida Atlantic University in 2008, the SAAS meeting has since taken place at the University of Florida (2010), the University of Central Florida (2013), Louisiana State University (2015), Millsaps College (2017), the University of Alabama (2019), and the James Madison University (2022)


The 2024 meeting is hosted by the University of Virginia (with virtual host George Washington University) in a hybrid format. Participants may attend on the Charlottesville, Virginia (USA) campus of the University of Virginia or via Zoom with the George Washington University. 

The Eighth Biennial Meeting of the SAAS enjoys the support of UVA’s Center for Global Inquiry + Innovation (CGII) in the Office of the Vice Provost for Global Affairs, as well as the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.


The year’s meeting is driven by the core question of how can intersectional and interdisciplinary, anthropologically-informed approaches to Amazonian and Andean studies contribute to addressing urgent, global challenges? To that end, the conference will be organized around themes, including:

Decolonizing research, and further engaging communities in research programs in the region

Human responses to climate change and environmental justice

The future of gender studies in the Amazon and Andes

Future directions for globally-engaged Amazonian and Andean studies.


The hybrid conference will also feature translation into multiple languages spoken in North and South America (final details forthcoming).

Distinguished keynote speaker Dr. Eduardo Góes Neves of the University of São Paulo, Brazil will deliver a public lecture.

We encourage participation from scholars working in a wide range of disciplines who are interested in anthropological, archaeological, historical, cultural, and/or contemporary themes in the Amazonian and Andean regions. The call for participants and registration was released in Fall 2023.  

To contact us with specific inquiries, please email kquave at gwu dot edu.

We look forward to seeing you!

Sonia Alconini, George Mentore, and Kylie Quave

(Conference co-organizers)

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