I joined the then School of Languages, Cultures and Religions at Stirling University in 2006, after having taught at Bonn University (Germany) and previously at St Andrews University.
I have academic degrees in Amerindian Studies and Cultural Anthropology (German M.A., Dr. phil., Habilitation).
Teaching In my teaching I combine interests and motivate students to ask their own questions of the different colonial and contemporary materials, taking a critical standpoint towards them, and keeping in mind that they should contribute to any topic from their own point of view.
These courses are centred on culture, mostly from ethnohistorical and anthropological perspectives, in practical and in theoretical terms. Important skills are consciousness, critique and creativity, which are just as much learned as taught. In order for students to learn, understand and implement these capacities, I make them aware of different types and genres of texts as well as of very efficient more traditional instruments as well as electronic resources.
The language courses I have taught include Spanish as well as Quechua and other native Amerindian languages.
My research focuses on Amerindian cultures and languages, and on the Andean peoples of South America in particular. In order to understand the complex history and cultural developments of indigenous peoples better, it is important to take an inter- and cross-disciplinary approach. Therefore in my research I combine ethnohistory, cultural anthropology and ethnolinguistics, fields that enable me to study the culture and language of the so-called 'indigenous peoples'.
The combination of different research perspectives and approaches takes into account the changes those peoples have undergone and are still undergoing. Multiple and multilayered influences have shaped contemporary indigenous life, which is now closely related to, involved with and in some instances amalgamated with that of the modern, postcolonial nation-states of which the indigenous peoples form a vital part.
A major research theme of mine has been for many years the Christianisation of the Andean peoples, and in particular the role the implementation of the Christian doctrine using the main native languages (above all Quechua and Aymara) has played in the colonial era, partly shaping modern Andean religion.
In August 2011 I received a nine-month AHRC fellowship (GBP 68,572) to complete a book (in Spanish) on "Interlacing Two Worlds: The Creation of a Colonial Quechua Verbal Art." I was co-organiser of the Henkel Foundation funded conference on 'European-indigenous Trans/Mission: Translation Strategies in Colonial Latin America' at the Free University of Berlin in October 2011 and will edit selected papers.
At present I am intensifying my academic contacts with Brazilian scholars (Carnegie Travel Grant), mainly on the research on the 'Translation of Christianities', together with Dr Maria Cândida Drumond Mendes Barros, (Museu Goeldi, Belém).
Currently I head an initiative on 'Translating Christianities', with partners from within and beyond the Division (See http://www.translatingchristianities.stir.ac.uk).
My linguistic interests have always been related to cultural questions. Besides my studies on the Quechua and Aymara languages I directed a research project (2005-2007) on the documentation and description of the endangered Bolivian Chipaya language (Volkswagen Foundation funded project for the Documentation and Description of Endangered Languages: DOBES). (For a description see: http://dobes.mpi.nl/projects/chipaya/language/.)
From an ethnohistorical point of view I have looked into the different ways Peruvian peasants' lives are described and documented within the hacienda system and the resulting conflictive situation at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century ('Life history and microhistory: tensions between big landowners and peasants in Southern Peru at the beginning of the 20th century').