Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
This dissertation is about the political and aesthetic dimensions of Indigenous media in Peruvian Amazonia. It explores how Kukama media-makers use aesthetic mastery to engage in three key political fields in Amazonia: indigeneity, historicity, and environmentalism. I specifically examine the audiovisual discourses and media-making practices coming from an Indigenous radio station called Radio Ucamara, located in the town of Nauta in Northeastern Peru (Loreto region). Drawing on place-based ethnography and digital research methods, I analyze the way this radio station instrumentalizes multiple digital and non-digital media forms to make visible (and also audible) their identities, violent histories, and cosmological worlds amidst their confrontation with the Peruvian neoliberal state and oil companies. The dissertation also contemplates how through these processes of mediatization, Amazonian ontologies, mytho-histories, and identities are being reimagined. For this purpose, I focus both on the analysis of media products (e.g., music videos, documentaries, journalistic reportage, murals, books) and the social dynamics surrounding those creations, to understand the way Kukama media producers take part in ongoing struggles for the revitalization of the Kukama language, seeking justice for the rubber times violence, and stopping the pollution of Amazonian rivers. Following theoretical frameworks derived from the anthropology of media and the anthropology of music and verbal art in Lowland South America, I argue that media aesthetics is becoming a major instrument in building political power in the region.
This dissertation is Open Access and may be downloaded by anyone.