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avatar for Alicia Boswell

Alicia Boswell

Bard Graduate Center/Metropolitan Museum of Art
Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Cultures of Conservation
New York, New York
I am an anthropological archaeologist whose research examines the dynamics of complex societies and interactions between PrenColumbian groups in different ecological zones of the Andes. My field research prioritizes examining the lived experience of household and producer communities and how those experiences are indirectly and directly connected to interregional economic and sociopolitical relationships. In my current postdoctoral project, I examine Pre Columbian groups interactions through the study of high prestige objects, elite metal regalia. This project builds on my past research on prestige goods which examined imperial-local relationships in the chaupiyunga, the coca-plant producing zone of the western slope of the Andes between local groups and two Andean Empires, the Chimú (AD 900-1470) and the Inca (AD 1470-1532). Collaboration with modern communities is equally important in my research through community-based heritage preservation projects in Peru. I have almost a decade of experience working with local communities and students through Mobilizing Opportunities for Community Heritage Empowerment (MOCHE, Inc.). In the Summer of 2017 I directed the MOCHE Conservation Field School with my fellow Cultures of Conservation Fellow, Jessica Walthew. One of my long-term research goal is to integrate heritage conservation more directly into social science research. As an Andrew W. Mellon “Cultures of Conservation” Postdoctoral Fellow at Bard Graduate Center, I teach courses on the techné and cultures of the Pre Columbian Americas. I am also collaborating with curatorial and conservation departments at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the “Crucibles of Innovation Project,” an endeavor to expand the lens of South American metallurgical studies and link The Met’s collection to a larger dialogue on metalworking technology and relationships throughout the Americas.