Tod Swanson

Associate Professor
Faculty
TEMPE Campus
Mailcode
4302

Biography

Tod Swanson directed Arizona State University's Center for Latin American Studies as a Title VI National Resource Center (1997-2007). In 1999, Swanson founded the Andes and Amazon Field School at Santu Urku (an Amazonian Kichwa community in Napo Province, Ecuador). During the summer months he resides at this site with his wife and four children where he manages an Amazonian forest preserve. Swanson serves the Santu Urku community in an elected capacity as councilman for environmental affairs. Swanson's work comes out of a lifelong interest in the Ecuadorian Amazon where he grew up as the son of evangelical missionaries.

Swanson's work on Amazonian Kichwa and Shuar religion seeks to understand how heightened empathy with plant and animals species is believed to mediate emotional relations to family and community. His approach uses linguistic analysis of native discourse to uncover implicit assumptions underlying Amazonian thinking. Swanson is currently working on two articles: "I am the Mountain Toucan's Wife" : How birds mediate social relations in the Ecuadorian Amazon;" and "Earth as Memory: Andean Kichwa thinking on the accumulation of history in the soil."

Swanson teaches undergraduate courses on South American Indian Religion and Nature as well as a graduate course on Religion in Latin America. Every summer he brings faculty and students from various disciplines together for the Andes and Amazon Field School. In that context he teaches courses on Kichwa language (eligible for graduate FLAS Fellowship) and Amazonian Ethnobiology.

Education

  • Ph.D. University of Chicago
  • B.A. University of Minnesota

Publications

  • Co-authored with Janis B. Nuckolls. Earthy Concreteness and Anti-Hypotheticalism in Amazonian Quichua Discourse. Tipiti: Journal for the Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America (2014).
  • Erin O’Rourke and Tod Swanson. Tena Quichua. Journal of the International Phonetic Association (2013).
  • Tod Swanson. "A Memory Painted on a Runa Woman’s Face." 2013. (2013).
  • Tod Swanson. We Are to Talk to Him Nicely: Amazonian Quichua Women Harvest Bark from a Medicinal Tree. (2013).
  • Tod Swanson. "Ecuador’s Kichwa Language Cell Phone: Will the new technology be successful in combating language loss?". Panoramas University of Pittsburgh, Center for Latin American Studies, Online Blog (2012).
  • Tod Dillon Swanson. "Singing to Estranged Lovers: Runa Relation to Plants in the Ecuadorian Amazon". Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture (2009).
  • . . Review of: Inca Bodies and the Body of Christ: Corpus Christi in Colonial Cusco Peru (2003).
  • Tod Swanson. A Civil Art: The Persuasive Moral Voice of Oscar Romero. Journal of Religious Ethics (2001).

Research Activity

  • Viri,Denis F*, Swanson,Tod Dillon. Cooperative Association of States for Scholarships (CASS Program) Indigenous Mexican Professional Development Program. GEORGETOWN UNIV MED CTR(7/1/2005 - 8/15/2006).
  • Swanson,Tod Dillon*. U of A -ASU National Resource Center. UNIV OF AZ(8/15/2003 - 5/31/2007).
  • Swanson,Tod Dillon*. U OF A-ASU FLAS. UNIV OF AZ(8/15/2000 - 8/14/2003).
  • Swanson,Tod Dillon*. U OF A-ASU NATIONAL RESOURCE CENTER. UNIV OF AZ(8/15/2000 - 12/31/2003).

Courses

Spring 2018
Course Number Course Title
REL 207 Ritual, Symbol, and Myth
REL 330 Native American Worldviews
Fall 2017
Course Number Course Title
REL 207 Ritual, Symbol, and Myth
REL 330 Native American Worldviews
Spring 2017
Course Number Course Title
REL 207 Ritual, Symbol, and Myth
REL 330 Native American Worldviews
Spring 2016
Course Number Course Title
REL 330 Native American Worldviews
Fall 2015
Course Number Course Title
REL 330 Native American Religious Trad
Spring 2015
Course Number Course Title
REL 330 Native American Religious Trad
Spring 2014
Course Number Course Title
REL 330 Native American Religious Trad

Presentations

  • Tod Swanson. "Talking about the Weather in Kichwa.". Conference on Study and Teaching of Indigenous Languages of Latin America. (STILLA) (Nov 2011).
  • Tod Swanson. This Parrot is Not From Around Here: Amazonian Runa Use of Bird Perspectives as Strategies for Adapting to New Social Environments. Society for Amazonian and Andean Studies (Nov 2010).
  • Tod Swanson. "I am the Mountain Toucan's Wife: Ritual Songs to Birds in the Ecuadorian Amazon". Invited Lecture, Center for Latin American Studies, University of Pittsburgh (Oct 2010).
  • Swanson, Tod. Economic Remitances to Latin America in the U.S.: Significance and Implications for the Future of the Region. Presentation to employees of the Vanguard Group (Sep 2005).
  • Swanson, Tod. The Aging Earth, Domestic Violence, and Migration in Andean Quichua Religion. University of Pittsburg, Center for Latin American Studies (Sep 2005).
  • Swanson, Tod, Maria De La Torre, Luz. Dialect Distinctiveness and Parent Resistance to Native Language Education in Ecuador. National Association of Bilingual Education

Service

  • Maricopa County Superior Court, Paid consultant and expert witness on indigenous language and culture (2006 - Present)
  • Colaborated with the Center for Indian Education in program organization, language revitalization and leadership training of 21 indigenous bilingual school teachers from 8 language groups in Mexico annually studying at ASU through the CASS Program, Member (2004 - Present)
  • Committee on Review, Member (2013 - 2013)
  • Transdisciplinary Council, Member (2013 - 2013)
  • Personnel Committee, Member (2008 - 2009)
  • Committee on Undergraduate Education, Chair (2009 - 2009)
  • Conference: "Amazonian Ethnobotany: Indigenous Cultural Relations to Plants", Conference )rganizer (2009 - 2009)
  • Steering Committee, School of Historical Phil. and Religious Inquiry, Member (2008 - 2008)
  • Institute for Humanities Research Sustainability Working Group, Member (2007 - 2008)
  • ASU Internal Fulbright Scholarship Committee, Member (2006 - 2008)
  • Andes and Amazon Ecuador Field School, Director (1999 - 2008)
  • Personnel Committee, Member (2007 - 2008)
  • Faculty Search Committee, Chicana/o Literature D of Lang and Lit, Member (2006 - 2006)
  • Center for Latin American Research, Director (2006 - 2006)
  • ASU Internal NSEP Scholarship Review Committee, Member (2006 - 2006)
  • Center for American Indian Policy and Leadership, Planning and Advisory Committee Member (2006 - 2006)
  • Fundacion Amazonica Cotococha, Director (2006 - 2006)
  • Quichua Language Community Radio Station in Slasaca, Ecuador, Chair of External Advisory Committee (2006 - 2006)
  • 3 day ASU Amazonian Health Fare, Principle Organizer (2006 - 2006)
  • Foreign Language and Area Studies Scholarship Committee, Chair (2006 - 2006)
  • Wacazo Sa Review, Manuscript evaluator for "Indigenous Languages and Self-Determination" (2006 - 2006)
  • Program Review of Center for Latin American Studies, Wrote the review (2005 - 2006)
  • Advisory Council, Native American Studies Program, Member (2004 - 2005)
  • Search Committee for new Director, Center for Lat American Studies, Member (2005 - 2005)
  • Faculty Search Committee, Member (2004 - 2005)
  • ASU Internal Fulbright Scholarship Committee, Member (2004)
  • Center for Latin American Studies, Interim Director (2004)
  • Encyclopedia of Religion, South American Indians Area Editor (2004)
  • Foreign Language and Area Studies Scholarship Committee, Chair (2004)
  • International Programs Office Advisory Council, Member (2004)
  • Center for Latin American Studies, Director (2003)
  • Graduate Committee, Member (2003)
  • Community foundation with a Quichua Board that manages 500 hectares of Amazonian forest reserve in Napo Province Ecuador. Position involves frequent work with Quichua families in the Quichua language to limit hunting and logging and to search for economi, Board Member (Present)