Guillermo Delgado-P., Lecturer

Guillermo Delgado-P. is a lecturer with the Department of Anthropology, and the director of field studies.

How did you learn about the field of anthropology?

My first exposure to anthropology was reading archaeological studies on Bolivian Pre-Columbian sites. Archaeologists were trying to interpret Pre-Columbian ‘ruins’, early monumental architecture of Tiwanaku, today an archaeological tourist destination.

Connecting Through An Ancient Language


Guillermo's dissertation work with miners in Bolivia was facilitated by his fluency in the Quechua language. Quechua is an indigenous language family mostly spoken in the Andes of South America.  It is most well known for being the language of the Inca Empire.

Tell us about your experience in anthropology.

As a university student, I formally studied ethnography in Santiago, Chile; many anthropology professors were archaeologists at the time, but there was only one cultural anthropologist. She was a former student of Oscar Lewis, an anthropologist that conducted fieldwork in Mexico and Puerto Rico. Anthropology at the Catholic University of Santiago was not yet a formal academic department, and it only offered a few courses under the Sociology and Philosophy departments and the archaeology courses under Natural Sciences. At the time, university students were encouraged to major on a discipline. I became interested in modern philosophy, specifically discussions pertaining modernity. I looked into the differences between European thought perspectives and indigenous perspectives, similar to cognitive anthropology, which asks the question “how do we know what we know?” I got my Bachelor’s in philosophy and religious studies and then went on to a doctoral program at UT in Austin.

It was there that I worked on formal anthropology training. I conducted fieldwork with Andean indigenous peasants and, for comparative purposes, in Kenya amidst the Kikuyu of Nyeri. These groups both faced the pressures of urbanization and development. Often in rural societies not fully permeated by capitalism as these were, peasants are producers of commodities, but they do not add the value of their (abstract) labor to the total price of their produce that is determined by the buyer, and through bartering. For my dissertation, I worked with miners of Bolivia, since I speak Quechua it helped me to communicate with these Quechua and Aymara underground tin miners. Anthropology was still mainly European/American but holistic, and there were a few ‘native’ anthropologists at the time.

What kind of courses are you teaching at the moment?

I am teaching Latin American ethnography (130L). I have been teaching at UCSC since 1988, and I have been watching this subfield change and develop over time. I am also teaching Anthropology 110W offered in the Winter Quarter, 2018. This class focuses on the relationship between land and water and touches on key issues relating to the Anthropocene, consequences of depleting water sources and the environment at large. So rather than focusing on Latin America we focus on land and water issues around the world. 

Field Studies

In addition to holding a lecturer position with the Department of Anthropology, Guillermo serves as the director of field studies. For more on field studies or field schools, navigate here and/or contact Guillermo directly.

How would you argue the importance of anthropology?

Anthropology is very important because it is a holistic social science involving other disciplines. Linguistics, biology, philosophy, ecology, medicine are just a few. It is open to interdisciplinary contributions because it has to do with understanding humanity as it interacts with the environment. You need to analyze many perspectives and disciplines to fully encapsulate the complexity of humanity and its environmental relation. Anthropology can also help to understand technology because humans are always interacting with tools that are a sort of extensions, intra-act and interact with the rest.

What would you say to convince someone to take part in anthropology? In other words, why would someone want to study it?

Anthropology allows you to be a flexible and understanding person, and to see the world’s complexity from a specific (cultural) point of view. It offers you a global view of humanity, interpreting complex issues such as human-environmental relations. It can be so close to home like the homeless problem in Santa Cruz, or so far away. With anthropology you can make an impact on any area of society that requires a contributor: health, education, medicine, the environment, etc. or any field that requires recognition of an interconnected view of the system as a whole.

Please click here for more information on Guillermo Delgado-P., as well as recent work.


By Sofia Safranek and Sophie Docter.  Sophie and Sofia are peer advisers with the Department of Anthropology.