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Sound, Singing, and Dancing in the Rural Colonial Andes, 1560–1700: Demons, Sorceries, Idolatries

Felipe Ledesma-Núñez, Harvard University, William R. Tyler Fellow 2019–2021

I used the initial months of my Tyler Fellowship to complete the bulk of my dissertation archival research in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. For a few weeks, I had the privilege of engaging in stimulating conversations with the other fellows and consulting rare materials at the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library, and then Dumbarton Oaks closed due to COVID-19. For the remainder of my fellowship, I was able to recontextualize my dissertation to adapt to the travel restrictions that hindered further archival research, finishing two chapters and preparing a third. I also presented two conference papers, drafted a chapter for an edited volume, and acted as editor for a multiauthor book and a special series for a journal.

As part of my institutional project, I had the opportunity to curate an online exhibition for Dumbarton Oaks titled Colonial Epidemics and Mesoamerican Medicine in Sixteenth-Century Mexico, which helped me reflect on the history of epidemics in the colonial period and historicize the trauma that we were experiencing during the pandemic. Dumbarton Oaks’ continuous support and caring community helped me endure the health crisis and stay on track in my academic career during these tumultuous times.