Currently viewing the tag: "Philip S. MacLeod"

Sunday, May 19, 4-5:30

Moderator: Philip S. MacLeod, Emory University

Rapporteur: Jill Baron, Dartmouth College


  • Endangered Languages: The Importance of Preserving Immaterial Knowledge, What We Lose When a Language Dies? — Enrique Catalán Salgado, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana Unidad Xochimilco, México
  • Inca Writing: Quipus, Yupanas and Tocapus — Ruben Urbizagastegui, University of California – Riverside
  • Epistemic Communities: Trends in Building Knowledge on Indigenous Issues in Mexico and Its Impact on the Social Environment, Government and Academia — Tomás Bocanegra-Esqueda, El Colegio de México, A.C.
  • Khipuism, Cybernetics and Indigenous Epistemic Communities in the Andes: A Critical Investigation — Manomano M. M. Mukungurutse, Nomadic-Independent Researcher and Writer

Moderator Phil MacLeod welcomed everyone to the session and introduced the three panelists.  First to speak was Enrique Catalán Salgado explored the dire situation facing indigenous languages worldwide.  He described the world as becoming aphonic, a term that typically refers to the loss of voice in a human being.  He argued that language is a unique tool for analyzing the world, and that the destruction of languages is a real global problem produced by social forces such as violence, war, genocide, racism, discrimination, and cultural factors such as “mestizofilia” or the pressure to adhere to a single official language.  According to Catalán Salgado, the most populous countries, such as the US, Brazil, and India are at the greatest risk of disappearing languages.  In Mexico, for example, he stated that 27% of languages – those that have 1000 or fewer speakers – are endangered.  In the US, of 155 spoken languages, 135 are in danger.  Bolivia, on the other hand, which has a large indigenous population (more than 60% of the general population), is not as at great a risk as Mexico and the US because the general population is smaller.  Various international organizations, like UNESCO and the UN, have made efforts to encourage countries to respect indigenous rights and mitigate this problem.

Tomás Bocanegra-Esqueda followed by presenting several academic and scholarly communities that are investigating indigenous issues in Mexico. These include the Comisión Nacional para el Desarrollo de los Pueblos Indígenas (CDI), a national institute that produces an important group of publications on themes such as sustainable regional development, social and human development, indigenous rights, migration, heritage and cultural development, gender equity.   Whereas there are no researchers employed by the CDI, the Institute supports research undertaken by affiliated researchers.  The Conaculta Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes is another institute that goes by a decentralized model of providing financial and editorial support for various projects related to indigenous cultural heritage and folkways (art, handcrafts, folklore).  The Centro de Investigación de Cultura Purépecha, within the University of Michoacan, produces a good catalog of publications on gender equity, traditions and oral culture, self-governance, regional customs and religion.  Intercultural universities represent a new model for higher education, with areas of study such as linguistics, environmental studies, philosophy and indigenous cultures, and community issues.  They can be found all over Mexico (Chiapas, Tabasco, Guerrero, Estado de México, Puebla, Veracruz and Quintana Roo).  UNAM has an anthropological research institute and a multidisciplinary research center on Central America with a special focus on public health.  Other institutes with a focus on indigenous studies include the CIESAS and the Red de Colegios y Centros CONACYT. Bocanegra-Esqueda argued that in spite of this seeming abundance of scholarly attention to indigenous issues, there has been little impact on actual public policy.  In all cases but the Zapatista movement, scholarship has done little to steer the government toward enacting more inclusive social policies.  The discourse of interculturalism is problematic in Mexico, where the government either treats indigenous peoples as a minority group, or uses them for a certain public image.

Finally, because one of the presenters was absent, Manomano M. M. Mukungurutse closed the session with his reflections on the Khipu, which he presented as an entire knowledge system comprising Andean political, cultural, mathematical and environmental phenomena.  This, like other indigenous knowledge systems, was and continues to function as a system of “data storage.”  Through the khipu knot, the central unit of information, knowledge was disseminated throughout the Incan empire. According to Inca de la Garcilaso, who wrote about the khipu, the knot recorded information, including mathematical calculations. Those who could communicate through khipu were the bards and sophists of culture; it was they who taught and produced knowledge in what Mukungurutse called “the invisible college.”

There was only one question from the audience, from José Ortado (Fundación de Kuyayky Peru).  He asked the panelists to reconsider the word “indigenous,” which he considers inherently discriminatory, as no one has purity of race.  He asked why do researchers continue to use this word?  Mukungurutse agreed that we are all mixed, but that we need to have is a category for the indigenous.  Indigenous is a broader concept; it does not deny the point that we are mixed.  Catalán Salgado argued that even if this word stems from a Eurocentric point of view, we scholars and students need a common scientific language in which to communicate.


Saturday, May 28, 2011, 11:00 AM – 12:30pm

Attendees: Members: Laura D. Shedenhelm (University of Georgia); Paula Covington (Vanderbilt University); David Nolen (Mississippi State University) ; Richard Phillips, Peter S. Bushnell, Paul Losch ( University of Florida); Adan Benavides, David Block (University of Texas at Austin); Gayle Williams (Florida International University); Hortensia Calvo ( Tulane University); Sarah Buck Kachaluba (Florida State University); Meiyolet Méndez (University of Miami); Holly Ackerman (Duke University); Teresa Chapa (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) Non-members: Tomás Bocanegra (Colegio de México); Gerada Holder (NALIS); Sofía Becerra-Licha (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill); Margarita Vannini (IHNCA, Universidad Centroamericana)

Teresa Chapa (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), the LASER Convener, opened the meeting by remarking on the gratifyingly large number of attendees. Introductions followed. A list was circulated for attendance and for those who want their names added to the LASER listserv.

Holly Ackerman moved that minutes of the last meeting be accepted. Laura Shedenhelm seconded and minutes were unanimously approved.
Teresa reminded the group that institutional updates will not be reviewed at the LASER meetings but will be sent out on the listserv.
Teresa announced that this was the 25th anniversary of ENLACE and encouraged our participation.

Teresa reviewed the themes from out last meeting – collaboration and cooperation in collection development. How to achieve greater coordination is the key. David Block summarized our efforts to date. In New Orleans we agreed to share information on whether we would purchase offers sent from one vendor for Andean publications. David pointed out that we do not need 12-20 copies of a work. Following the meeting in New Orleans, David sent out offers for collective consideration and we initially were indicating the intention to buy an item. It seemed that we were not reducing the number of institutions acquiring titles. As the experiment progressed we felt comfortable indicating that we would not buy an item. Gayle Williams asserted that it was still too early to judge the success of this experiment.

Richard Phillips questioned what the relationship of this experiment was to the Farmington Plan wherein universities had committed themselves to collecting along lines of faculty and institutional strength. Richard added that under the Farmington Plan, Florida has been committed to collecting on the Caribbean for so long that it would make no sense for them to alter that pattern or to reduce the amount they buy. Teresa pointed out that, in contrast to the Farmington commitments, our current efforts are regional rather than national and that they are informal. She reminded the group that we had also discussed dividing up deep collecting by choosing to collect comprehensively on selected Mexican states. Mai Mendez suggested that we also do this by publisher and/or state in Argentina. She offered to draw up a list of publishers derived from the approval plan from her university and to circulate it to LASER members.
David felt we needed more specificity as far as what our specialties include. Phil MacLeod suggested that we define a core and then divide up the more detailed subjects. Adan Benavides pointed out that some vendors’ catalogs, for example those from Books from Mexico, show which institutions have received a book on approval thus allowing us to see the extent to which a book is held in our region. Paula Covington thought that we need to focus on lists earlier in the selection process. David recommended that we organize around some benchmarks such as assuring that one institution has the national gazette and a major newspaper for each country. The need for coordination among SALALM’s regional groups was also discussed and Teresa Chapa agreed to talk with the conveners of the other regional groups to let them know what we are doing and to see what collaborative efforts they may have in place.
David suggested we select a country for which no LASER library has collecting responsibility and try a cooperative experiment to avoid overlap and to increase uniqueness. The possibility of a Central American country was discussed. Phil and Laura described the cooperative efforts they have in place with Emory buying in the social sciences and Georgia selecting in the Humanities. They compare invoices and identify duplication and core authors and subjects and are now coordinating their plans through Vientos Tropicales.
Laura agreed to coordinate an experiment on Paraguayan imprints. Participating institutions are Duke, Emory, Texas, U. Georgia, U. Miami, UNC. Laura will contact the group regarding next steps.
Paula reminded us that the LASER website is now at Vanderbilt and that she would like to receive suggestions on features to be added to the site. She demonstrated a website constructed in Omni software. She would like to convert the LASER page to an Omni format but does not want to do so unless other LASER institutions have OMNI so that the site can move to another institution with minimal difficulty. Members will check with their institution and report back to Paula. Suggestions for website additions included: a listing of digital libraries; a chart showing institutional collection strengths; acquisitions news; lists of OP vendors by country; and a LASER blog. Paula requested that members send updates to their microfilm union list this summer.
The meeting adjourned at 12:30.


Teresa Chapa, Convener
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Saturday May 28, 2011 2:00-3:00pm

The subcommittee convened at 2:00 on Saturday May 28,2011  in the Cherry Room. The majority of the meeting’s time was devoted to product demonstrations.

Phil S. MacLeod (Emory) did a brief presentation about the Spanish language/Latin American content of the Google News Archive and showed a Lib Guide he put together at Emory with links to all the titles available (

David Block (U Texas) did a brief presentation about the Archivo Historico del Arzobispado de Mexico a scanned collection of documents of colonial church records.  Books from Mexico is the authorized dealer.

David Block recently attended the REDALYC meeting in Mexico and did a brief demonstration of the REDALYC portal ( and discussed its content.

Ray Abruzzi (Gale Cengage) did a presentation on Gales’s World Scholar Latin American Portal describing the primary and secondary source content.

Paula Covington (Vanderbilt) gave a brief update on LAPOP.

There was also discussion of what would happen with the content of Paper of Record now that Google has discontinued the project.


Philip S. MacLeod, Chair
Emory University