Martha Luz Machado Caicedo, who obtained her doctorate at the University of Amsterdam, recently won the Premio Alejandro Ángel Escobar prize, the most important award for science in Colombia.
Martha Luz Machado Caicedo, who obtained her doctorate at the University of Amsterdam, recently won the Premio Alejandro Ángel Escobar prize, the most important award for science in Colombia. She received this award for her work in the field of social studies and humanism. Machado Caicedo obtained her doctorate in March 2011 for her study of the cultural influence descendants of African slaves transported to Colombia had on the indigenous Chocó population.
In her thesis, Machado Caicedo states that the Chocó were culturally influenced because for centuries, they shared the same territory with the African slaves and their descendants. She supports her theory using historical sources and myths as well as comparative research. Prominently featured in her thesis are the carvings of religious staffs used by the Chocó. According to Machado Caicedo, these staffs exhibit African features.
The jury found Machado Caicedo’s research to be ground-breaking because no previous in-depth research had ever been carried out in this subject. Her work enhances the cultural knowledge of the Afro-Colombian population. In the past, the unique cultural history of this group was not recognised in Colombia. In publishing her thesis on the aesthetic memory of the Chocó and the descendants of African Slaves, Machado Caicedo attempts to rewrite their history (and thus the history of Colombia) and contribute to the discourse on exclusion and oppression.
The Premio Alejandro Ángel Escobar prize is the most important award for scholars in Colombia. For the past several decades, the Alejandro Ángel Escobar Foundation has awarded prizes for exceptional scientific and social work. Since 1955, the foundation has granted prizes to 110 institutions for their contribution to society (solidarity prizes) and to 109 scientists active in the field of physics, chemistry, social studies and humanism, the environment, and sustainability.
Martha Luz Machado Caicedo’s research received support from the National Institute for the study of Dutch slavery and its legacy (NiNsee), where she worked as a researcher.