Notice of Online Archive

  • This page is no longer being updated and remains online for informational and historical purposes only. The information is accurate as of the last page update.

    For questions about page contents, contact the Communications Division.

More than three centuries ago, Bartolomé Arzáns wrote a history of the once prosperous silver mining city, Potosí, located in the colonial region of Upper Peru (present-day Bolivia). The 18th century author blamed immigrants for the city’s demise.

This semester, Daysi Pereira ’05 (West New York, N.J.) is working as an EXCEL Scholar to analyze Arzáns’ text and is co-authoring an article that will be submitted to a scholarly journal. She is conducting this research with Denise Galarza-Sepúlveda, assistant professor of foreign languages and literatures. In Lafayette’s distinctive EXCEL Scholars program, students work closely with faculty on research while earning a stipend.

“Arzáns wrote the Historia de la Villa Imperial de Potosí between 1705 and 1736,” explains Galarza-Sepúlveda. “It is an interesting work for a variety of reasons. The way he articulates the history of the city and delineates what is native and what is foreign is particularly fascinating.”

“Although Arzáns was born in the prestigious viceroyalty of Peru, he considered himself first and foremost a native of Potosí and a contributor to the culture and society,” she continues. “He blamed the chaos and eventual economic downturn of the city on the influx of immigrants.”

Pereira is helping Galarza-Sepúlveda research the work, which was published in 1965, and is gathering information that will be printed in an article submitted to Latin American Literary Review.

“Not much research has been done on the more than 1,500 oversized folios and 330 chapters,” says Pereira. “My job is to read and carefully analyze and categorize my findings. This work enables me to further my understanding of colonial texts.”

Pereira explains that the greatest challenge of her research is deciphering the 18th century Castilian texts, and she calls Galarza-Sepúlveda her “guiding light” in this process

“Last spring she approached me about working with her,” says Pereira. “I was captivated by the mere idea of being involved in scholarly research, so she did not have to ask twice. Even though we just started, I’ve realized that there is no set of rules to follow. Instead, you learn as you go along. You develop your own way of categorizing and analyzing the information.

“Professor Galarza-Sepúlveda has made me feel that I’m part of the finished product. My observations and comments are valued and taken into account.”

Pereira says this experience is providing her with solid research experience that will be of value in the future.

“I think this is a wonderful opportunity,” she explains. “Lafayette is an exceptional academic institution.”

Pereira is an America Reads tutor and member of Lafayette’s Hispanic Society. She participated in the Alternative School Break program in Honduras last March.

Categorized in: Academic News