Margarita Huayhua

Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Margarita Huayhua 

Assistant Professor of Sociology/Anthropology
Ph.D. University of Michigan

Phone: 508.999.8400
Office: Liberal Arts Room 392F


Margarita Huayhua is a sociocultural anthropologist with a background in linguistic anthropology, video production, translation, Quechua language, and education. Her research area is the central Andean region of South America, including Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador, especially on interactions among speakers of Quechua and Spanish, and among women. She works on issues of language use, discourse; social hierarchy and domination; face-to-face interaction, and indigenous stories. Her analytical framework combines the insights of anthropology (cultural and linguistic) and micro-sociology (Goffman’s “Interactional order”).

She is working on a book project: “Strangers in Our Own Land: Social Oppression in the Southern Andes” which examine how “race” and racialization are produced in habitual forms of social interaction in distinct institutional and public settings in southern Peru, between rural first-language Quechua speakers and urban first-language Spanish speakers, some of whom also speak Quechua. What distinguishes her study is that rather than begin with abstract social categories, she shows how both the categories and racial discrimination are produced in face-to-face interactions and target rural Quechua-speaking people. Her aim is to show that the production of oppressive social relations is not only a reflection of the colonial past, but is also a system of practices in the present, practices that maintain privilege.

She is also working on how the image of “the Indian as a problem” was constructed to (1) justify the subordination and exploitation of indigenous people in the southern Andes and (2) undercut the self-determination of indigenous people to defend their land on the basis of their own conceptions of their relationships to that land. To that end, she is exploring the life experience of Quechua speakers who were servants within Peruvian haciendas, a system that ended in 1969.


Research interests

Sociocultural anthropology, language, gender, race and racialization, ethnicity, conversation analysis, oral history, ethnography, indigenous movements, indigeneity, development discourse, visual anthropology; Latin America, the Andes,

Grants and Research Fellowships

  • 20014-2015 Mellon Sawyer Postdoctoral Research Fellow, LLILAS, NAIS, University of Texas at Austin, Texas 
  • 2010-2012 Presidential Fellowship, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey
  • 2010 Inter-American Grassroots Development Fellowship, research grant
  • 2009-2010 National Science Foundation (NSF), Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, Mary Malcomson Raphael Fellowship, University of Michigan 
  • 2008-2009 Rackham Pre-doctoral Fellowship, University of Michigan
  • 2004-2007 Ford Foundation Fellowship for graduate training 
  • 1993-1995 Graduate Fellowship, Facultad Latinoaméricana de Ciencias Sociales, Quito, Ecuador
  • 1987-1988 Junior Research Fellowship, Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales, [CLACSO, Latin American Council of Social Science], Perú


  • 2016 “Social Subordination and Language.” In The Routledge Handbook of Linguistic Anthropology. Ed. by Nancy Bonvillain, New York and Oxon: Routledge, pp. 109-124
  • 2014 “Racism and Social Interaction in a Southern Peruvian combi.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 37(13): 2399-2417
  • 2013 “Everyday Discrimination in the Southern Andes.” In Para Quê Serve O Conhocimento se eu Não Posso Dividi-Lo? Ed. by Birgit Krekeler, Eva König, Stefan Neumann, and Hans-Dieter Ölschleger. Estudios Indiana 5, Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag, pp. 49-58
  • 2005 Políticas públicas de salud y poblaciones indígenas [Public health policies and indigenous populations]. Lima: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos
  • 1999 “La exclusión del runa como sujeto de derechos en el Perú.” [The exclusion of the Runa as subject of rights in Perú] Bulletin de I’Institut Français d’Études Andines 28(3): 521-33
  • 1999 “Los procesos de deslegitimización de la condición humana del indígena: el caso de los indígenas del Napo (Ecuador) y de los Andes del sur del Perú” [The process of delegitimization of the Indian as human: the case of the Indians of Napo and the southern Andes of Perú]. In El Racismo en las Américas y el Caribe [Racism in the Americas and the Caribbean]. Ed. by José Almeida. Quito, Ecuador: ABYA-YALA, pp.67-79


  • 2014 “Ñawpaqpas kunanpas allpanchis, kawsayninchis” (‘Our Land, our life, then and now’). 23 minutes. Documentary directed and edited with the participation of villagers from Chuquisaca and Potosi (spoken Quechua with English subtitles). Funded by the Urgent Anthropology Programme, Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI), London

Media Interviews

  • 2013 “Social Discrimination and Quechua Language.” Interview by Mario Carrión. 35 TV channel, Cuzco, Perú 
  • 2011 “Talking in Quechua.” Interview by Christine Mladic. Rimasun-Quechua Podcast by CLACS, New York University, November 11
  • 2010 “Realities of the Mountain People.” Magazine for the 3rd World Meeting of Mountain People. Oloron, France, September 28
  • 2008 “Indigenous Languages.” Interview by Elizabeth Rankin. Kellogg Institute Newsletter, University of Notre Dame, October 20