Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Best Master's and Best Doctoral Prizes for collaborative programmes in Anthropology and History with Seville

In 2004, Professor Tristan Platt (Social Anthropology/Amerindian Studies, School of Philosophical, Anthropological and Film Studies) took up the offer of Dr Juan Marchena Fernández of the Universidad Pablo de Olavide (UPO, Seville, Spain) to join him and other colleagues, including Dr George Lovell (Queens University Canada) and the late Dr Jan de Vos (Chiapas, Mexico), in focusing the Master’s and Doctoral Program in Latin American History at UPO around the theme of “Mundos Indígenas” (“Indigenous Worlds”). Since then, Professor Platt has served each year as part of a team of professors who teach and supervise annual intakes of 20 to 30 students. He also takes part as member of Tribunals judging the dissertations and theses.

"Smiles under the Giralda"
he first promotion of students in 2005
[photo by George Lovell]

Most of the students arrive to pursue graduate studies at UPO from all over Latin America for a four-month residency in Seville, made possible by scholarships granted by UPO after a rigorous screening process. The goal of the UPO program is to train new generations of students who can return to their home nations in Latin America better prepared to teach, research, and work there in a variety of capacities, with increased knowledge of indigenous issues foremost in mind. Since the program began, some 200 students have graduated from it, more than 30 of them now doctorates.

In March 2012, UPO received two honours in recognition of these innovative endeavours: the Prize for Best Master's Program and the Prize for Best Doctoral Program, both awarded by the Asociación Universitaria Iberoamericana de Postgrado (AUIP). The AUIP, which translates as “Iberoamerican Universities Association of Postgraduate Studies”, is an international consortium to which most Latin American, Portuguese and Spanish universities belong. At a time when economic crisis threatens the intellectual well-being of higher education throughout Spain, the prizes extended Dr Marchena's “Mundo Indigenas” program has given a boost to the morale of all involved, professors, students and senior UPO administrators alike. 

The University of St Andrews is happy to have contributed to this outcome through the participation of Professor Platt. Social Anthropology now has a cotutelle studying Brazilian ethnohistory, Pablo Ibáñez Bonillo, who is supervised  by Dr Marchena at the UPO, with Professor Platt and Dr Mark Harris for the University of St Andrews.