School of Modern Languages

Staff Profiles

Professor Rosaleen Howard

Chair of Hispanic Studies



I joined the School of Modern Languages at Newcastle from the Institute of Latin American Studies at the University of Liverpool in July 2005. I work on the anthropology and sociolinguistics of the Andes. My research is based on field work in areas where both Spanish and Quechua are spoken (Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia). My PhD dealt with Quechua oral storytelling in highland Ecuador. Since then I have published widely on Quechua oral history; anthropological approaches to the study of language contact, especially translation issues; language politics and cultural identity in the Andes; and intercultural education policy for indigenous peoples.


Research Interests

Sociolinguistics and anthropological linguistics of the Andes; language and education policy and practice in the Andean states; language ideologies; language and cultural identity; issues of translation in multicultural settings; Critical Discourse Analysis in multicultural, postcolonial settings; Quechua language and Quechua-Spanish contact; interactive multimedia technology for the teaching of Quechua in its cultural context.

Other Expertise

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

Current Work

Current work builds on the outcome of a Leverhulme Trust funded project that gave rise to my book Por los linderos de la lengua: ideologías lingüísticas en los Andes, Lima: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, 2007, 425 pages. The book applies Critical Discourse Analysis to a range of interviews on the topic of language and identity, conducted with speakers of Quechua, Aymara and Spanish during fieldwork in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. The book develops a 3-country comparative framework and applies theories of hybridity, transculturation, and borders to the study of the hegemonic effects of language use in multicultural postcolonial settings.

I also conducted British Academy sponsored research on the 'performance of power' as displayed in the political discourse and mediated presentational style of the Evo Morales government in Bolivia (2008). Using Voloshinov’s concept of the ideological sign, I demonstrate how language and other media such as clothing and ritual are indicators, and constitutive agents, of social and political processes; see Howard 2010 ‘Language, signs and the performance of power’ in Latin American Perspectives, vol. 37 no. 3: 176-194

A British Academy UK-Latin America Link programme grant enabled me to lead the project ‘Paradigms of cultural diversity’, a series of seminars with academics and practitioners working in intercultural education and related fields, in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Mexico (2010-2012). For podcasts see An edited volume is in preparation for publication with Abya Yala, Ecuador.

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.

Future Research

My future research will focus on new developments in the field of language rights for indigenous peoples in the Andean states, arising from constitutional and legislative reforms in the post-2000 period. I shall look for example (i) at the training programmes in indigenous languages for Spanish monolingual urban dwelling populations, set up in response to linguistic rights laws; and training of state interpreters between indigenous languages and Spanish, in line with laws on prior consultation prior to extraction of natural resources on indigenous territories.

Research Roles

Chair of Hispanic Studies and Director of Research, School of Modern Languages, Newcastle University

Postgraduate Supervision

University of Liverpool PhDs

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

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, submitted

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, in progress

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

Lexy Seedhouse: ‘Indigenous community responses to extractive industries in southern Peru’, ESRC, in progress

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