04.21.17 RICHARD CHASE SMITH: “I’m not sure whether I chose anthropology or whether anthropology chose me”

RCSmithI’m not sure whether I chose anthropology or whether anthropology chose me”: An interview with Richard Chase Smith

Richard Chase Smith, who has lived and worked in Peru for five decades, will be the keynote speaker for the XI Sesquiannual SALSA Conference in Lima. He first carried out field work in the late 1960s among the Yanesha people of the central Peruvian Amazon for his doctoral research in anthropology at Cornell University. He went on to co-found and direct “Instituto del Bien Común” (IBC), a non-government organization focused on indigenous peoples’ territorial rights. Due to IBC’s innovative use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to support indigenous peoples’ rights, he was recently declared a “GIS Hero” by ESRI, the makers of ArcView, the leading geographical information software. In this short interview, Dr. Smith reflects on his life and work in Peru and in anthropology.