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August 20, 2013

Truman Academic Development Support Grant (TADS)
Truman State University

Faculty review committee,

I would like to apply for $2000 from the Truman Academic Development Support Grant (TADS) to fund translation and copy editing of my book Pachakutik: Indigenous Movements and Electoral Politics in Ecuador (Boulder, CO: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2012; into Spanish for publication in Ecuador. I have contacted Sylvia Escárcega Zamarrón, Ph.D., an independent scholar and consultant who is willing to undertake the necessary work on the Spanish translation of the book for $2000. The book will be a co-publication of the graduate social science institute FLACSO and Abya-Yala, a leading publisher of social science literature in Ecuador. They co-published my 2009 book Historia agraria y social de Cayambe ( and Bolívar Lucio from the press has agreed to publish this one as well. Before publication, however, I need to provide the press with a polished and copy edited text in Spanish.

In Pachakutik: Indigenous Movements and Electoral Politics in Ecuador, I examine the competing strategies and philosophies that emerge when social movements and political parties embrace similar visions for political change but follow different paths to realize their objectives. “Pachakutik" is a Kichwa word that means change, rebirth, and transformation, and was the name that activists used to launch a political movement in 1995 to compete for elected office. In exploring the multiple and conflictive strategies that Indigenous movements have followed over the past twenty years, I document the recent history and chart the trajectory of one of the Americas' most powerful and best organized social movements. Reviewers have warmly received my analysis. José Antonio Lucero at the University of Washington calls it “a terrific book” that is “ideal for courses on Latin American politics and social movements.” Kenneth Kincaid of Purdue University North Central says that my “rendering of contemporary Ecuadorian politics, Indigenous organizing, and social movements is superb and reflects an insider's knowledge of this country.” He adds that this book is “not only ideal for classroom use but [is] also essential reading for those wishing to gain a greater understanding of the recent grassroots democratization campaigns that have reverberated throughout the world.” The book is currently being used successfully in both undergraduate courses and graduate seminars.

While in graduate school in a Kichwa Language and Culture course at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, leading Latin American anthropologist Frank Salomon deeply impressed me with his passionate argument that we have an ethical and professional obligation to return the results of our research to our subjects in a form that is meaningful and accessible to them. Too often academics treat field research as an extractive enterprise, in which they take information home in order to advance their professional careers without any sense of obligation to those who live where the research was conducted. In many parts of Latin America, this behavior has given academics a negative reputation. For these reasons, when I return to my research sites I bring along copies of my publications and also work with local collaborators to publish the results of my research in local languages.

During my most recent trip to Ecuador I met with the Kichwa intellectual Floresmilo Simbaña and a Ph.D. candidate Blanca Fernández regarding how best to return the results of this research project to Ecuador. Although I wrote Pachakutik: Indigenous Movements and Electoral Politics in Ecuador in English for a North American audience with a specific eye toward course adoption and a general readership, they pressed me on the importance of preparing a Spanish-language edition of the book for distribution in South America. At the same time, Bolívar Lucio, editor at the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) in Ecuador where I have long maintained my research affiliation, noted the inherent interest in the topic of my book and expressed his strong desire to publish it.

With this encouragement and expressions of interest, I began to undertake a translation of the book manuscript. At this point, I have a draft of the translation, but it needs a professional edit in order to correct grammatical errors, remove my “gringoisms” (wording that approximates English rather than Spanish), and polish the writing so that I can provide a high quality finished product to my colleagues in Ecuador. Sylvia Escárcega Zamarrón is a native Spanish speaker and has a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California, Davis. She has long worked with international Indigenous movements, and is uniquely positioned to understand what I am attempting to say and to rephrase my translation so that it flows well and is highly accessible to a Spanish-speaking audience.

Because of her interest in the subject material and a commitment to the publication of this type of research in Spanish, Dr. Escárcega Zamarrón has agreed to a special rate of $5 per 250 words for the copy editing and polishing of the draft translatation. The book is 100,000 words long, or 400 manuscript pages of 250 words each. The total cost for finishing this translation therefore is 400 pages x $5/page = $2000. I must emphasize that without this type of professional attention to the text it will not be possible to follow through with my ethnic and professional obligation to publish this book in Spanish.

Please let me know if you have any questions regarding this request or are in need of any additional information. Many thanks in advance for considering this request.


Marc Becker
Professor of Latin American History

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