Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Staff Profile

Professor Rosaleen Howard

Emerita Professor



Rosaleen Howard is Chair of Hispanic Studies (Professor Emerita) at Newcastle University and formerly Senior Lecturer in the Institute of Latin American Studies, University of Liverpool. She works on the sociolinguistics and anthropological linguistics of the Andean region, and on the Quechua language, based on ethnographic fieldwork in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. Her recent books include Por los linderos de la lengua. Ideologias linguisticas en los Andes, Lima: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos/Instituto Frances de Estudios Andinos/Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru (2007) and Kawsay Vida. A Multimedia Quechua Course for Beginners and Beyond, Austin, TX, University of Texas Press (2013). Her interests are wide-ranging, including: Quechua storytelling performance; the grammar of evidence in Quechua narrative; the relationship between language, identity and power in multilingual Latin America; indigenous language politics and social movements; state language policy and its implementation; indigenous translators and interpreters as linguistic human rights activists. 


Research Interests

I work on issues of language, identity and power in the Andean states of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, where linguistic diversity maps onto social inequality and discrimination in many ways. I use analytical tools from critical sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology and anthropological linguistics to tackle the range of topics I have researched and published on. These include Quechua storytelling and oral history; human-non-human relations in Quechua cosmology; indigenous language and education policy in the Andes; language ideological perspectives on Quechua-Spanish contact; language and cultural identity; translation and ´misrecognition´ in postcolonial contexts; language rights legislation, policy and implementation; the indigenous interpreter as broker of human rights, women´s rights and indigenous rights; interactive multimedia technology for the teaching of Quechua in its cultural context.

I have recently retired from my full-time position at Newcastle University and am continuing my research as Professor Emerita in the School of Modern Languages. 

Other Expertise

Latin American indigenous social movements; Latin American government policy on multiculturalism.

Current Work

My current work has arisen out of two collaborative research projects funded by the AHRC under their Translating Cultures theme:

Project 1 (2014-2016) Principle Investigator. ´The legislated mediation of indigenous language rights in Peru´. (Co-investigators Raquel de Pedro, Heriot-Watt University; Luis Andrade (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú). This project examines the Peruvian´s states implementation of new legislation in support of the language rights of indigenous people, against a backdrop where infringements of human rights have often arisen, in part, due to the communicative breach between Spanish speaking officialdom and indigenous language-speaking communities. On the basis of first-hand research with the collaboration of Peru´s Ministry of Culture, we engage critically with the challenges that mediated bilingual and multilingual communication poses in a postcolonial context where historical asymmetries between languages and cultures still apply. We examine in particular the state-sponsored training of bilingual indigenous people as translators and interpreters, to provide this service in the public sector, including justice, health and prior consultation processes. We address both written translation from Spanish into languages with a primarily oral tradition and interpreting in scenarios that are characterised by a clash of cultural and communicative codes. See Publications for 2018 items arising from this project and our website https://research.ncl.ac.uk/translatingculturesperu/.

Project 2 (2018-2019) Co-Investigator. ´Improving women´s lives: the work of grassroots bilingual mediators of indigenous language rights´. (Principal investigator Raquel de Pedro, University of Stirling; Co-Investigator Luis Andrade (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú; Project Partner, Raquel Reynoso, Servicios Educativos Rurales). This project examines the role that female indigenous leaders in the southern Peruvian Andes play in facilitating communication between members of their communities who predominantly speak Quechua and Aymara (usually women and elderly people), on the one hand, and Spanish speaking public servants working in sectors such as justice, health and education, on the other. The role of these ad hoc ´social interpreters´, or ´companions´ as they refer to themselves, is often crucial in ensuring access to human rights. Our project seeks to enhance their visibility, empowering the women leaders as well as the people who benefit from their work. We have done this by innovative means: helping them to create a piece of testimonial theatre that dramatizes the work of the social interpreter, and an audio-visual exhibition that presents the issues to the general public. See these links for further information https://peruproject.stir.ac.uk/https://lum.cultura.pe/exposiciones/yanapaqkuna-yanapirinaka-acompañantes.

I am also involved in endangered language research, preparing an audio dictionary of an undocumented Quechua dialect of Peru’s Upper Marañón valley, in collaboration with native speakers and linguistics students at the Catholic University of Peru in Lima.

Research Roles

Chair of Hispanic Studies, School of Modern Languages; Director of Newcastle University Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Postgraduate Supervision

University of Liverpool PhDs (1991-2005)

Timothy Marr: ‘Language shift among Quechua migrants to Lima, Peru’, ESRC

Janet Lloyd: ‘Ecuador’s indigenous organisations and the international NGO’, ESRC

Neil Pyper: ‘Street children and education in Lima, Peru’, Faculty Studentship

Pedro Plaza: ‘Language, education and power in the Bolivian bilingual classroom’, ORS

Sally Evans: ‘Indigenous plant medicine among the Quichua of lowland Ecuador’, ESRC

Newcastle University PhDs (2006-2019)

Claire Donneky: ‘Language planning for minority language groups in France and Spain’, Faculty Studentship, completed

Ximena Córdova: 'The performance of identity in the Carnival of Oruro, Bolivia', AHRC, completed

Josep Cru: ‘Maya language revitalization and revalorisation in Yucatan, Mexico’, Institut Ramon Llull, completed

Fernando Gonzalez: ‘Tourism and discourses about place and identity in Northern Peru’, Faculty Studentship, completed

Sarah Bennison: ‘Cultural meanings of water in Huarochiri province, Peru, AHRC, completed

Antonia Manresa: ‘Intercultural education among Quichua communities in lowland Ecuador’, ESRC, completed

Stefan Rzedzian, ‘The rights of mother earth in Ecuador’s legislation’, ESRC, completed

Miriam Liggins, ´Quechua literacy and intergenerational transmission of knowledge in highland Peru´, ESRC, in progress