Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies
Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

Luis Carcamo-Huechante

Associate ProfessorPhD, Cornell University

Associate Professor, Department of Spanish & Portuguese
Luis Carcamo-Huechante



Sound studies; indigenous studies; market economics; literature and culture; urban chronicle; poetry and poetics in contemporary and modern Latin America


Luis E. Cárcamo-Huechante is a scholar of Mapuche origin who grew up in Tralcao, a rural village in the River Region of Valdivia in southern Chile. He studied Philosophy and Social Sciences at the Universidad Austral de Chile (1980-1985), obtained his MA at the University of Oregon (1995-1997), and earned his PhD in Hispanic Studies at Cornell (1997-2001). He taught at Harvard University between 2001 and 2009. Since 2009, he teaches Latin American and indigenous literatures and cultures at The University of Texas at Austin. He has recently co-edited, in collaboration with other eight Mapuche researchers, an inter-disciplinary collection of essays entitled Ta iñ fijke xipa rakizuameluwün. Historia, colonialismo y resistencia desde el país Mapuche (Santiago: Ediciones de Historia Mapuche, 2012); a book that brings together fourteen Mapuche authors who examine many dimensions of Mapuche history, relying upon the concept of colonialism as the axis of debate and reflection on historical, political, cultural and territorial issues. Previously, in 2007, Professor Cárcamo-Huechante published his own book, Tramas del mercado: imaginación económica, cultura pública y literatura en el Chile de fines del siglo veinte (Santiago: Editorial Cuarto Propio), and co-edited a volume of essays entitled El valor de la cultura: arte, literatura y mercado en América Latina (with Alvaro Fernández-Bravo and Alejandra Laera, Rosario, Argentina: Beatriz Viterbo Editora, 2007).  He has published articles in prestigious academic journals. He is also a member of the editorial boards of refereed journals in the United States and in Latin America, such as: Latin American Literary Review, Revista de Crítica Literaria Latinoamericana, Native American Studies (NAIS), and Taller de Letras. In Spring 2012, Professor Cárcamo-Huechante won the Raymond Dickson Centennial Endowed Teaching Fellowship 2012-2013 in the College of Liberal Arts at UT Austin; and, in August 2012, he won the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award, the University of Texas System Board of Regents's highest teaching honor. During the 2013-2014 academic year, he was a Fellow at the National Humanities Center in North Carolina.


LAS 392S • Lit And Cult Life Of Radio

39715 • Fall 2015
Meets T 500pm-800pm BEN 1.106
(also listed as ILA 387)


Radio has played a major role in popular culture as well as in the subjective and collective imagination of individuals and communities in Latin America since the early twentieth century to the present. In this process, literary and cultural works have become shaped and immersed in radio culture, and radio has acquired a powerful literary, aesthetic, and cultural life. This seminar will focus on the ways in which this process has forged a radio-phonic imaginary in poetry, short stories, novels, chronicles, and essays within the field of literature as well as in the realm of the arts. In order to address these key questions, this course will examine how radio culture is literally and figuratively registered and performed in literary writing and in the arts. Strong focus will be put on the role of voices, narratives, sound aesthetics, auditory culture, language and the senses, the culture of radionovela or radioteatro, and the history of radio and sound technology in Latin America. The seminar will review and include a critical and theoretical corpus that is central to contemporary debates in the emerging cross-disciplinary field of sound studies, in conjunction with recent critical developments in literary and cultural studies, performance studies, media studies, speech act theory, and anthropology of the senses, anthropology of radio, phenomenology, and acoustic ecology. Our discussion will also link the literary and cultural life of radio to issues of local and national politics, ethnic, racial and gender representation, colonial histories, anti-colonial struggles, and questions of cultural imperialism and globalization.  

Grading Policy

This course will use the plus/minus grading scale for each of the assignments as well as for the final grade.

The final grade will be determined by the following requirements:

1. Attendance 15%

2. Participation in class discussions 25%

3.  Research Paper (RP) 60%: an aprox.15-page research paper on a specific topic addressed in the seminar, reflecting the research interest of the student in sound culture. We will not schedule this research paper for the end of the semester but rather we will start working on it by the middle of the semester in order to set up a process of outlining, drafting, editing, and critical and self-critical revision around the task of writing a research paper.  The instructor will closely follow this process with planned meetings with each member of the seminar. Our RP agenda is: proposal: 10%. preliminary draft: 20 %.; final draft: 20%.; abstract: 10%.


Graduate students with knowledge of Spanish are automatically admitted into the seminar.  Students from the PhD in Spanish are required to write in Spanish; students from other graduate programs can write in English, Spanish, or Portuguese.

Readings and Bibliography

1. Critical and Theoretical Works

Barbero, Jesus Martin. De los medios a las mediaciones (1987)

Bessire, Lucas and Daniel Fisher. Eds. Radio Fields: Anthropology and Wireless Sound (2012)

Bronfman, Alejandra and Andrew Grant Wood. Media, Sound & Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean (2012)

Chow, Rey and James Steintrager, Eds. The Sense of Sound (2011).

Franz Fanon, A Dying Colonialism (1965).

Ihde, Don. Listening and Voice: Phenomenology of Sound (2008).

Kittler, Friedrich. Gramophone, Film, Typewriter (trans. 1999; 1986)

Kun, Josh. Audiotopia: Music, Race and America (2005).

Lacan, Jacques. Radiophonie (1970)

McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (1964)

Nancy, Jean-Luc. Á l’écoute (2002).

Ong, Walter. Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word (1982).

Perloff, Marjorie and Craig Dworkin. The Sound of Poetry/The Poetry of Sound (2009).

Schafer, R. Murray. The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and The Tuning of the World (1994) [1977].

LAS 370S • Poetry For The 21st Century

39725 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm MEZ 2.102
(also listed as SPN 355)

This course will analyze and discuss the place of poetry in the public and historical setting of the Southern Cone of Latin America—that is, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay—since the 1970s to the present.

LAS 370S • Lit Figuratns In Multimed Age

40290 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 930am-1100am MEZ 1.212
(also listed as SPN 352)

This course focuses on the figurations of sounds and images in literary language in the context of modern and contemporary Latin America. We will study and discuss the rhetorical ways in which the impressions of the senses, particularly in terms of the relationship between writing, visual and sound culture, take shape in literature. Therefore, the course will be organized around basic literary figures (such as ekphrasis, calligram, onomatopoeia, interjection, and synesthesia), aesthetic constructions (such as rhythm and image) and discursive performance (voice, monologue, dialogue, polyphony), across genres and historical periods. The organization of the course around these multiple procedures will offer the students a specific training in the critical use of concepts that are relevant for the analysis of language and literary representation. In addition, this discussion will allow us to look at literature as a discourse immersed in a multimedia ecology, in which there are a variety of dimensions of language that coexist and intertwine: the language of nature, animal sounds, human senses, oral community traditions, radio, music, painting, cinema, and digital media. Special attention will be paid to the crossings of Western, Criollo, Indigenous, and African traditions in the literary and extra-literary realm of sounds and images.

LAS 370S • Civilization Of Spanish Amer

40310-40325 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm UTC 3.132
(also listed as SPN 322K)

This course aims to provide a panoramic view on key issues in the cultural history of Latin America. Our emphasis will be on the cultures of power relations and social change in the region, with particular attention to the role of intellectual production, media and cultural expression in these processes. Within this framework, we will scrutinize the following topics: cultures of [power (i.e., colonialisms, patriarchalism, homophobia, racisms, paternalism, authoritarianisms, populisms); anti-colonial struggles; nation-state formation; slavery; indigenous cultures and peoples; cultures of authoritarianism and democracies; women, sexual minorities, and social change; and the new cultures of immigration, diasporas, and globalization.


Through the critical scrutiny of the aforementioned topics, this course will pursue the following specific goals,


  1. To understand the heterogeneity of histories and cultures that form part of Latin America across historical periods and geographical boundaries;
  2. To train students in the use of conceptual and technical tools for the creative analysis and interpretation of cultural subjects and their representation in language;
  3. To provides students methodological tools for academic writing and critical reading;
  4. To practice speaking skills through a brief oral presentation in group discussion
  5. To use the Benson Collection in order to support the writing of the essay for the class; and, 
  6. To be able to respectfully share, discuss, reflect on and self-critique ideas.

LAS 370S • The Imagined Andes

40245 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm MEZ 2.122
(also listed as SPN 350)

LAS 392S • Indig Worlds Andes/Sthrn Cone

40430 • Fall 2011
Meets T 100pm-400pm BEN 1.118
(also listed as SPN 380K)

The Criollo and Indigenous Subjects in the Andes and the Southern Cone

This course examines the constructions of criollo subjects as well as the representation and self-representation of indigenous peoples in the literary and cultural production of the Andes and the Southern Cone of Latin America. Historically, we will cover the period beginning with the founding of nation-states in early nineteenth-century to the current era of globalization. We will analyze the ways in which the sujeto popular criollo is constructed and imagined in canonical literary and cultural texts, the indigenista representations of native peoples, and the practices of self-representation in texts linked to Quechua, Aymara, Mapuche and Native Amazonian traditions and authors. Readings will include works that are associated with trends such as gauchesca, Peruvian popular traditions, criollismo, indianismo, indigenismo, and autonomous indigenous poetics. We will study songs, legends, testimony, letters, poetry, short stories, and novels. Paintings, comics, films, lyrics, and radio shows will be also included.

In order to investigate the issues of coloniality, territory, recognition and self-recognition, representation and self-representation, some of the key questions we will address include the following: How do oral and written traditions interrelate in both criollo and indigenous texts? What is the relationship of these non-indigenous and indigenous forms of representation to dominant “national” constructions of the literary canon? What are the politics of recognition, self-recognition and agency that emerge from the texts under scrutiny? How do they relate to the framework of the hegemonic nation-states and issues of “internal colonialism” in the region? Within the context of modern and contemporary times, to what extent do these literatures subject their representation and agency to the universality of a Westernizing, neocolonial criollo  nation-state? And finally, to what extent do these texts engage with the potential of “autonomous” indigenous politics of territory—in particular, that of ayllu (communal land in the Andes), tawantinsuyu (the ancient Inca territory), and wallmapu (the notion of Mapuche nationhood)? 

Grading Policy:

The final grade will be determined by the following requirements:

Attendance 10%

Participation in class discussions 15%

Mid-term paper 15% (a 5-7 page essay on any of the readings of the first part of the course)

Presentation in class (on the research topic for the final paper) 10%

Final Paper 50% (a 12-15 page research paper on a specific topic addressed in the seminar)


Primary Readings:

Martin Fierro by José  Hernández

Selections from Tradiciones peruanas by Ricardo Palma

Manifestos by Tupaj Katari (selection)

Cartas mapuches (selection)

Una excursión a los indios ranqueles by Lucio Mansilla

Selections from Cumandá o un drama entre salvajes by Juan León Mera

Raza de bronce by Alcides Arguedas

Selections from Canto kechwa by José María Arguedas

Selections of poems by Andrés Alencastre

Los ríos profundos  by José María Arguedas

Mi despertar by Ana María Condori (Aymara)

Selections of Contemporary Quechua poets (Dida Aguirre, Eduardo Ninamango, Odi Gonzales)

Selections of Contemporary Mapuche poets (Leonel Lienlaf, Elicura Chihuailaf, Jaime Huenún, Liliana Ancalao, Roxana Miranda Rupailaf)

Native Amazonian literature from Ecuador and Peru (Course Reader)

Literary and Cultural Criticism:

Poesía quechua by Jesús Lara

Escribir en el aire by Antonio Cornejo Polar

El género gauchesco by Josefina Ludmer

Indios, ejército y frontera and Literatura argentina y realidad política by David Viñas

Oprimidos pero no vencidos: Luchas del campesinado aymara y qhechwa de Bolivia, 1900-1980 by Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui

Supplementary theoretical and critical materials (Course Reader) 


Graduate students with knowledge of Spanish are automatically admitted in the seminar; advanced undergraduate students can only enroll with special permission of the instructor. 

LAS 392S • Aesthetics And Polit Of Voices

40830 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm BEN 1.118
(also listed as SPN 380K)

SPN 380K Graduate Seminar Spring 2011

Aesthetics And Politics Of Voices

Conducted in Spanish


Listed as: SPN 380k; LAS 392S           Course Unique Number: 47255 

Schedule of Class Meetings: Tuesday and Thursday 2:00pm-3:30pm

Room: BEN 1.118

Instructor: Prof. Luis E. Cárcamo-Huechante 

E-mail address: carcamohuechante@austin.utexas.edu

Office Hours: Friday 10:00 to 12:00; Office: BEN 3.146 


Course Description


In the field of literature, we often talk about the subjects of literary texts as “speakers” and readers as “audience.” The written domain of literature is imagined as a scene of speaking and listening. With this in mind, this graduate seminar will examine the ways in which voices and sounds work in literary language and representation. Key questions to be addressed are: How does the representation of voices and sounds enrich the aesthetic and sensorial effects of literary texts? What is the role of silence in literary language? To what extent is literature a sensorium of the sounds, noises and voices that constitute public imagination in specific historical contexts? How do writers’ ideologies, cultural backgrounds, locations, ethnicities or gender/sex identities impact the types of voices and sounds that are present in their literary works? What is the role of literary genres in this process? How do literary representations of voice and sound relate to other sound media, such as the gramophone, radio, the telephone, film, or music?

Our discussion will be anchored in the study of literary texts from modern and contemporary Latin America. Theoretical materials will be drawn from literary criticism, anthropology, philosophy, cultural studies, and media studies.



Current Research

Current Research Project

The Sounds of an Indigenous Nation:

Poetry, Radio, and Music in Contemporary Mapuche Culture

in Argentina and Chile

The language of the Mapuche people is known as Mapudungun, a name which conjoins two distinctly polyvalent terms: mapu, meaning land, territory, country, or universe; and, dungun, meaning language, voice, sound, or sense.  My work over the past few years on contemporary Mapuche culture, literature, and media has centered on the many linkages between sound, language, and representation. Within this framework, I am currently drafting a manuscript entitled The Sounds of an Indigenous Nation: Poetry, Radio, and Music in Contemporary Mapuche Culture in Argentina and Chile.

My study explores the sonorous imaginaire that emerges from the poetic texts, radio programs, and music produced by contemporary Mapuche writers, artists and communicators from Argentina and Chile (1980s-2000s).  In this study, I argue that sound plays a pivotal role in the construction of the Mapuche linguistic and cultural imagination. Contemporary Mapuche culture is constructed and made manifest through soundscapes based on a diverse range of resources—from nature to technological devices. In this context, my work challenges the anthropocentric approaches which focus exclusively on the orality-writing dyad, approaches most commonly found in the interpretations of Latin American indigenous cultures (Antonio Cornejo Polar, 1994; Martin Lienhard, 1991).

The first part of my study examines how contemporary Mapuche poets use writing to perform the sounds they experience at the modern crossroads of rural and urban landscapes. From the late 1980s to the 2000s, a vibrant movement of Mapuche poets began to garner literary visibility and prominence through the publication of individual books of poetry and anthologies. I particularly analyze the works of poets Lorenzo Aillapán; Leonel Lienlaf; Juan Pablo Hurimilla; and Liliana Ancalao.  For example, Aillapán uses various modes of onomatopoeia and iteration to perform the “sound language” emitted by native birds. Lienlaf’s poetry incorporates the tradition of the Mapuche chant, ül, translating this oral genre into writing in order to evoke ancestral cosmologies. Lienlaf then shatters this universe of harmonic sounds by figuratively introducing the incongruous machinery noises of the forestry industry that has intruded upon Mapuche territories over the past thirty years. Adding to this process a much more hybrid texture of sounds, Huirimilla’s poetry presents a distinct array of cultural sounds, registering the echoes of the music and radio shows that form part of the contemporary auditory culture of Mapuches in both rural and urban areas.  Finally, Ancalao’s poetry registers the difficulties of constructing a Mapuche voice within a highly Westernized Argentine literary and cultural environment.  By analyzing the construction of soundscapes within literary texts by these Mapuche authors, my work breaks important new ground in the field of Latin American literary studies. 

The second part of my study examines on Mapuche radio broadcasts.  I examine Wixage anai!, a program aired on Radio Tierra in Santiago, Chile, as well as Radio Wallon and Werken Küruf, two community radio station in Chile’s southern Temuco region. I then juxtapose my analysis of these radio shows with a study of the mini-programs of the Mapurbe Communication Team from Bariloche in Argentina’s Río Negro province, and Radio Wajzugun, a Mapuche station broadcasting from San Martin de los Andes in the also Argentine province of Neuquen. My analysis of Mapuche radio in Argentina and Chile will open a new path in the field of Indigenous Studies by attending to the linkages between the performance of sound identities and the politics of Mapuche nationhood (wallmapu) that constitute the metanarrative of these radios shows in both sides of the Andes.

The third part of my study focuses on Wechekeche Ñi Trawun, a band of young Mapuche musicians from Santiago who achieved popularity in Mapuche communities in Chile and southern Argentina over the recent years. Their music incorporates the sounds of nature and of native traditions while also introducing the contemporary and urban aesthetics of rock, rap, and reggaeton. I investigate how these Mapuche musicians juxtapose Western electronic instrumentation with the sounds of traditional native instruments like the kull kull, trutruka and kultrún. Through this stylistic and technological mixture, they perform an ambivalent position toward globalization by fusing a discourse of Mapuche nationalism with an aesthetic cosmopolitanism.

The objective of my study is to understand the creative ways in which Mapuche cultural producers assemble indigenous and non-indigenous sonic resources to navigate through contemporary media ecologies. I focus on literature, radio and music because these three types of media have played a vital role in the Mapuche cultural, political and social movements of the recent decades. To examine this diverse process, I rely on the methodological approaches from the field of poetics, discourse analysis, aesthetic and cultural criticism, and performance studies. These methods allow me to carry out close readings to unveil the nuances of languages, styles and sound aesthetics in contemporary Mapuche poetry, radio, and music. Through this study, I aim to build conceptual and methodological bridges between two emerging fields, Sound Studies and Indigenous Studies. 


Luis E. Cárcamo-Huechante

Austin, Fall 2011.

  • Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

    University of Texas at Austin
    SRH 1.310
    2300 Red River Street D0800
    Austin, Texas 78712