2023 XIV SALSA Biennial Conference

XIV SALSA Biennial Conference 2023

Amazon Triple Frontier Brazil-Colombia-Peru

SALSA XIV BIENNIAL CONFERENCEThe Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America (SALSA) is pleased to announce that its XIV SALSA Biennial Conference will take place from 27-30 July 2023 in the Amazon Triple Frontier Brazil-Colombia-Peru. It will be hosted by the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Leticia, in association with the Universidad Nacional de la Amazonia Peruana (UNAP) and the Universidade Federal do Amazonas (UFAM) (Brazil). Juan Alvaro Echeverri (Conference Organizer), Roxani Rivas and Carlos Machado Dias Jr. (Conference Co-Organizers) and Natalia Buitron (Academic Program Chair) are working with Jeremy Campbell (SALSA President), Laura Graham (SALSA President-Elect), and Simone Athayde (SALSA Secretary-Treasurer) to offer a unique opportunity for SALSA members to get in close and personal contact with the heart of the Upper Amazon, in an intercultural context. This will be a SALSA Biennial Conference cooked and enjoyed en su propia salsa (“in its own sauce”)—that is, amid the populations, environments, institutions, and nations that are at the heart of its values and mission.


Visions and Futures: Amazonia from the Roots

Casa HIja Gabriel VargasMore attuned to the immersive experience of fieldwork than the scholarly exchange in a conference room, the academic program of this SALSA 2023 Biennial Conference will develop organically amid the populations, environments, institutions, and nations that are at the heart of SALSA’s values and mission. Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Universidade Federal do Amazonas (Brazil), and Universidad Nacional de la Amazonia Peruana are three universities strongly committed to broadening border cooperation and the participation of Indigenous and traditional peoples in research and higher education. We aim to host a conference that puts diversity, transnational cooperation, symmetric dialogue, and intercultural exchange at its center, as these are experienced and sustained in Lowland South America, in all academic and social activities. The indigenization and decolonization of anthropological knowledge are central to this aim, so various aspects of this conference will be designed to achieve these core aims. We have made room for a category of ‘Special Events’, in addition to the age-old Thematic Panels and Workshops, that open up new modes of exchange beyond academic interests (public policy issues, Indigenous peoples and higher education systems, frontier integration, and so many others). These Events encourage members to feel and reflect on how we go about co-producing and sharing knowledge with research participants, communities, collaborators and policymakers. In keeping with SALSA’s convivial tradition of hosting ‘Conversations in the Lobby’, SALSA 2023 will turn this event into ‘Conversations in the Maloca.’ We seek to  integrate Amazonian styles of conversation into open-ended, reflective discussions about the future and vision of SALSA— and more closely approximate the legacy of Steven Rubenstein, which gave birth to this SALSA tradition.

We invite SALSA members to think creatively about the content and form of their proposals for Thematic Panels, Workshops and Special Events. This may be by facilitating symmetric exchange with Indigenous/traditional intellectuals and participants as well as with scholars and practitioners in other fields, or by reflecting about the changes taking place in the region. We hope you feel encouraged to think widely and inclusively about conversational partners, and the meanings, methodologies and relevance of our research in Lowland South America today.


Conference Venue

Amazonia campus entranceThe main locale of the Conference will be the campus of Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNAL) in Leticia, with parallel activities taking place in other locations of the Triple Frontier. The Amazonia campus is a cozy and beautiful campus, with a total area of about 15 ha., of which the buildings occupy a little above 3 ha.

For the meeting, we will use six classrooms with capacity for 20, two classrooms with capacity for 50, the campus Auditorium with capacity for 100, and one maloca (“Casa Hija”) with a long history of hosting more than a hundred dancers, singers, and spectators simultaneously. All these spaces (including the maloca) are equipped with audiovisual equipment and software.

There are ample and comfortable spaces for registration, welcoming reception, coffee break chats, book tables and poster display. The campus design allows for accessibility for persons with limitations in mobility. We can offer childcare in alliance with Colegio Selvalegre, a private school founded in 1999 by a group of biologists, artists and anthropologists.Children can be tended during the day and take part in recreational, cultural, and artistic activities, led by its multilingual and intercultural staff.

Sede Amazonia Patio Gabriel VargasThe conference will meet all the standards of SALSA Conferences and does not entail any major logistical difficulties or financial drawbacks for participants to attend. We have the capacity to receive well over 150 participants; the city of Leticia has plenty of hotels and restaurants, and the Amazonia campus is a beautiful venue surrounded by forest, with the necessary infrastructure for such an event. A comparison of air fares from cities in Europe or the US to major South American destinations such as Lima or Sao Paulo reveals that fares to Leticia are approximately the same, and, in some instances, even lower.

The organization and delivery of this SALSA conference in this Amazonian triple frontier city will contribute to capacity-building among local associations and organizations—many of them indigenous—who will provide food and drinks, conference ‘swag’ (mochila bags and presents for participants), and tourism services in the form of bird observation treks, visits to indigenous museums, maloca visits, and other tours and activities. The location also makes another commitment of ours particularly viable: we will ensure that local indigenous intellectuals, scholars, and students are encouraged and enabled to contribute and to benefit from the conference.Sede Amazonia estudiantes

In addition to delivering a full-fledged academic conference and offering extraordinary opportunities for SALSA members to engage personally with the many spaces and ecosystems of an urban Amazonian center and of its surrounding rainforest, rivers, and lakes, we hope to break new ground for SALSA by having the three participating universities put forth an intensive graduate-level course during the week immediately preceding the conference.

–Jeremy M. Campbell (SALSA President 2020-2023), Laura R. Graham (SALSA President-Elect 2023-2027), Simone Athayde (Secretary-Treasurer 2022-2025), Juan Alvaro Echeverri (SALSA 2023 Conference Organizer & SALSA Webmaster), Natalia Buitron (SALSA 2023 Academic Program Chair).

Please send all inquiries about this conference to: