A Section of the Latin American Studies Association

Section Annual Reports

Activities Report 2019-2020

Submitted June 2020

Prepared by Amanda M. Smith, Co-Chair & Connie Campbell, Secretary


In our first year as a section we have grown our membership to 81 members, and we continue to work on expanding our membership. We are also active on social media with 57 followers on Facebook and 202 Twitter followers.

Section Activities

Monthly newsletter. Since forming as a section, we have established a monthly newsletter aimed at a) highlighting member research, b) informing members about Amazonia-related academic opportunities & events, and c) disseminating information pertinent to the section related to official LASA activities.

Establishment of section awards. In July/August 2020 we will offer our first annual Amazonia section best book award. We received five nominations for best book and had originally planned to award the prize at the LASA Congress, but due to the pandemic, we postponed our review schedule. The review panel will submit feedback June 30, and we will announce the award shortly after. We also initially established a best conference paper award, which we withdrew over concerns of inclusion and equity when the conference went virtual. We plan to offer this award in 2021.

LASA 2020 (Virtual)

● Despite the challenges of the virtual conference arrangements, which caused three of our participants to withdraw, we nonetheless held an exciting inaugural panel, A Plurality of Practices: Urgent Approaches to Amazonia, featuring presentations by Diana Córdoba and Liliam Barros. Panelists who had to withdraw will be given preference at LASA 2021.

● We sponsored one inter-sectional panel with the ERIP Section (Ethnicity, Race, and Indigenous Peoples) entitled One Amazonia, Many Ontologies: Interculturality and Crisis. All participants chose to postpone until LASA 2021.

Business Meeting

To best accommodate our section leadership, we chose to conduct our business meeting outside of the regular LASA program. We held our meeting via Zoom on May 29, 2020 from 12-1:45pm EDT with 16 participants from the U.S., Europe and Latin America.


  1. Amanda Smith, Section Co-Chair, University of California Santa Cruz
  2. Fernanda Gebara, Section Co-Chair (outgoing) CIFOR Consultant & independent researcher, Brazil
  3. Martina Broner, Section Treasurer, Universidad de Cornell
  4. Connie Campbell, Section Secretary, University of Florida and independent consultant Lima-Peru
  5. Jessica Solórzano, Section Council Member, Universidade Federal do Pará, Brasil - Phd Candidate in: Núcleo de Altos Estudos Amazônicos (NAEA)
  6. Sarah J. Townsend, Section Council Member (incoming), Penn State University
  7. Santiago Silva de Andrade, Section Council Member (incoming), Universidade Federal de Rondônia
  8. Simón Uribe, Universidad del Rosario- Colombia
  9. Katia Yoza, Section Council Member, Rutgers University
  10. Carmen Martinez Novo, Center for Latin American Studies, University of Florida
  11. Carolina Sá Carvalho, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  12. Riccarda Flemmer, Universidad de Hamburgo y GIGA Hamburgo
  13. Isabel Peñaranda, Universidad de los Andes- Colombia
  14. Linda Etchart, Human Geography, Kingston, London -United Kingdom
  15. Charlotte Rogers, University of Virginia
  16. Andres Ernesto Obando, University of Pittsburgh PhD Candidate Hispanic Languages and literatures.

Co-chair Amanda Smith gave a report from the LASA chairs’ meeting as well as a summary of section accomplishments in our first year. Most of the meeting was dedicated to planning for the section’s future, in an effort to achieve two main objectives: 1) strengthen the section internally by discussing ways to get more members involved, better serve our current members, and share information about member research; and 2) build relationships with other sections across LASA and in Amazonian circuits.

Several future initiatives, to achieve our objectives, came out of the meeting:

1) Strengthen the section internally:

  • A transition from a monthly English-language newsletter to a quarterly, trilingual audiovisual communication to include video research presentations from members, potentially as a live broadcast Zoom event. Each quarterly production will organize around a theme.
  • The section will build a website on the LASA server where we can host our quarterly content.
  • Members were interested in holding a conference in Amazonia when it is possible to organize such an event again.

2) Build relationships with other sections across LASA and Amazonian researchers and activists:

  • Members wanted to both build a stronger section and include more voices from Amazonia in our section activities.
  • Most members agreed that we must first build our membership and relationships with LASA. Nevertheless it is important to find ways to include others from outside of LASA. We discussed:

        ○ Writing publicity copy for the LASA newsletter,

        ○ Petitioning for an Amazonia track at the conference,

        ○ Developing more cross-section initiatives.

  • Recognizing the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Amazonian communities, we discussed ways we can raise awareness and possibly funds for affected people. We also shared information and perspectives on some of the many international, regional and local campaigns that are actively seeking funds. Incoming co-chair Riccarda Flemmer discussed the idea of creating a vetted spreadsheet of organizations where members can donate.

Election Results

We intended to conduct elections electronically. However, only one person presented themselves as a candidate for each of our open positions, making elections obsolete. The resulting slate of new section officers as of June 1, 2020 is as follows:

  • Riccarda Flemmer (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg REPLACING Maria Fernanda Gebara), will serve as co-chair through 2022.
  • Santiago Andrade de Silva (Departamento de Educação do Campo, Universidade Federal de Rondônia) will serve as council member through 2022.
  • Sarah J. Townsend, Associate Professor of Spanish & Portuguese, Penn State University, will serve as council member through 2022.

The following section officers will remain in their current positions until LASA 2021:

  • Co-chair Amanda M. Smith
  •  Secretary Connie Campbell
  • Treasurer Martina Broner
  • Council Members: Jessica Solórzano and Cari Maes

In sum the Amazonia Section leadership as of June 2020 is as follows:

  • Co-Chair Amanda M. Smith
  • Co-Chair Riccarda Flemmer
  • Secretary Connie Campbell
  • Treasurer Martina Broner
  • Council Member Santiago Andrade de Silva
  • Council Member Sarah J. Townsend
  • Council Member Jessica Solórzano
  •  Council Member Cari Maes