Assistant Professor Miguel León of the History Department at SUNY Oneonta has received a grant from the Ancash Association commissioning him to write a book on the history of Conchucos, a region in the north-central highlands of Peru.
León’s book of approximately 250 pages will be used as the basis of three secondary-school textbooks that a publishing company will assemble with a commission from the Ancash Association, an organization supported by the Antamina mining company of Peru.
"My parents are from Conchucos and passed on their love of the region, its culture, language, customs, food and landscape to me. Conducting historical research on this region is in many ways a search for my own ethnic consciousness or unconsciousness," said León. “I am delighted and honored to have this opportunity to write about the history of Conchucos while, at the same time, seeing my findings available to a greater audience.
León, who is a native Peruvian, previously conducted research on the Conchucos region for an article he contributed to the 2010 “Ancash Annual Cultural Review.” He is also the author of the 2008 chapter book entitled “Toribio of Mogrovejo’s Synod of Piscobamba (1594) in the History of the Christianization of Peru.”
Located among 20,000-foot peaks within the Andes Mountains, Conchucos was isolated by its geography until the 1950s when rural road construction connected the region to the country's highway system. Because of this, relatively little has been written about Conchucos, according to León, which makes this project especially significant from a cultural and historical perspective.
"Dr. León’s work will make an important contribution to the history of the Conchucos region of Peru," said Dr. Julie Freeman, acting dean of Science and Social Science at SUNY Oneonta. "We are extremely proud of his accomplishment in securing this grant."
León holds a doctorate in history from Columbia University. He taught at St. John’s University before joining the SUNY Oneonta faculty in 2006. At SUNY Oneonta, he teaches courses in Latin American history and Caribbean history.