+44 (0)1223 330484

Quondam Fellow

My research and teaching focus on literature produced in Spanish and four indigenous languages of Latin America: Central & Southern Quechua, Yucatec Maya and Nahuatl. I combine Literary Studies, Linguistics and Anthropology to explore how indigenous literatures engage with philosophical questions. I am a Quondam Fellow of Hughes Hall (University of Cambridge), Research Associate of Centre of Latin American Studies (University of Cambridge) http://www.latin-american.cam.ac.uk/staff/associatestaff#Charles%20Pigott, a member of the Mexican National Research Association (SNI), Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy, and Associate Professor of Literature at University of the Americas Puebla (UDLAP) in Mexico https://www.udlap.mx/ofertaacademica/profesores.aspx?cveCarrera=LLI&profesor=0022741&extracto=5, where I teach Latin American literature and cultural studies, as well as global environmental philosophy. I manage the Core Humanities Programme for all undergraduate students, and am co-founder (with Nahuatl author, Martín Tonalmeyotl) of a new series of bilingual indigenous literature published by UDLAP: http://blog.udlap.mx/blog/2020/09/udlap-presento-los-primeros-libros-de-la-serie-bilingue-literatura-en-lenguas-originarias/

Previously, I held a three-year Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at Centre of Latin American Studies, University of Cambridge, and a Research Fellowship at Hughes Hall, during which time I spoke with over thirty Maya authors in Mexico as part of the research for my monograph, Writing the Land, Writing Humanity: The Maya Literary Renaissance (Routledge, 2020), and travelled throughout southern Mexico in search of the country’s most elusive bird species. During the Fellowship, I spent two months learning the Southern Quechua language in Cuzco, Peru, and another two months learning Nahuatl in Puebla, Mexico. These were the official languages of the Incan and Aztec Empires, and are spoken by millions today. I also had a consultancy role for the BBC in the development of their “Bitesize” educational programme on the Ancient Mayas https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/zq6svcw, and convened an Indigenous Studies module for the MPhil programme in Latin American Studies at University of Cambridge.

Prior to my position in Cambridge, I spent a year learning Yucatec Maya at the Autonomous University of Yucatán, funded by a Mexican Government Postdoctoral Fellowship, and held a concurrent Research Associateship at the Zoology Department, University of Oxford. My PhD (University of London, 2013), funded by the UK Arts & Humanities Research Council, involved spending a year in the Peruvian Andes, during which time I learned the Central Quechua language and documented bilingual folksongs composed in Spanish and Quechua. My thesis engaged the folksongs in dialogue with the philosophical perspectives of Derrida, Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, to explore the extent to which the concept of “identity” is applicable in the Andean cultural context. Before embarking on my PhD, I participated in an ornithological expedition to a remote part of the Bolivian Amazon, organized by the University of Glasgow Expedition Society.


• Pigott, Charles. Writing the Land, Writing Humanity: The Maya Literary Renaissance. Routledge, 2020. (Perspectives on the Non-Human in Literature and Culture monograph series). https://www.routledge.com/Writing-the-Land-Writing-Humanity-The-Maya-Literary-Renaissance-1st/Pigott/p/book/9781003035046


• Pigott, Charles. “Cosmic Narratology and Human Exceptionalism in Maya Poetry: Villegas’ Yáax K’áak’ [Primordial Fire]”. Green Letters: Studies in Ecocriticism, vol. 24, no. 2, 2020, pp.169-184. DOI: 10.1080/14688417.2020.1771609
• Pigott, Charles. “Maize and Semiotic Emergence in a Contemporary Maya Tale: Tec Tun’s, U tsikbalo’ob XNuk Nal [Tales of Old Mother Corn]”. Tapuya: Latin American Science, Technology and Society, vol. 2, no. 1, 2019, pp.112-126. DOI: 10.1080/25729861.2019.1674547
• Pigott, Charles. “The Last Inca: Hegemony and Abjection in an Andean Poetics of Discrimination”. Modern Languages Open (Liverpool University Press), vol. 1, 2018, pp.1-35. DOI: 10.3828/mlo.v0i0.146
• Pigott, Charles. “Foreign Encounters in the Pallas of Bolognesi, Peru”. Latin American Indian Literatures Journal, vol. 28, no. 1, 2014, pp.28-53.
• Pigott, Charles. “The Soqomocho of Huayllacayán”. Latin American Indian Literatures Journal, vol. 28, no. 1, 2014, pp. 54-61.
• Pigott, Charles. “Ecological Ethics in Two Andean Songs”. Studies in American Indian Literatures, vol. 26, no. 1, 2014, pp. 81-109. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/539875
• Pigott, Charles. “Unity and Difference in Andean Songs”. Oral Tradition, vol. 28, no. 1, 2013, pp.77-102. DOI: 10.1353/ort.2013.0001
• Pigott, Charles. “The Lyrical Creation of Community: Song as a Catalyst of Social Cohesion in Andean Peru”. AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples, vol. 9, no. 4, 2013, pp.336-351. DOI: 10.1177/117718011300900405
• Pigott, Charles. “Cracid Surveys in the Bolivian Rainforest”. Annual Review of the World Pheasant Association 2008-9, p.32.

Encyclopedia Entry

• Pigott, Charles. “Tragedia del fin de Atawallpa”. The Literary Encyclopedia (online reference resource), 2016. https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=35701

Book Review

• Pigott, Charles. “Review of Canessa, Andrew (2012) Intimate Indigeneities: Race, Sex, and History in the Small Spaces of Andean Life. Durham & London: Duke University Press”. AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples, vol. 10, no. 1, 2014, pp. 89-91.