My research and teaching focus on literature produced in Spanish and four indigenous languages of Latin America: Yucatec Maya, Nahuatl and both Central and Southern Quechua, spoken in Mexico, Peru and Bolivia, respectively. I combine Literary Studies, Linguistics, Anthropology and Philosophy to explore how indigenous literatures engage with questions of cultural memory and biocultural heritage. I use methods and theories from the Environmental Humanities (particularly ecocriticism) to forge links between the Humanities and Sciences.
I am Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at University of Strathclyde, Quondam Fellow of Hughes Hall (University of Cambridge) and Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy.
Before joining University of Strathclyde, I was Associate Professor of Literature and Humanities at Universidad de las Américas Puebla (UDLAP) in Mexico, where I founded a new series of bilingual indigenous literature published by UDLAP. I now co-edit the series with Martín Tonalmeyotl and Martín Sánchez Camargo: 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 https://www.routledge.com/Writing-the-Land-Writing-Humanity-The-Maya-Literary-Renaissance/Pigott/p/book/9780367473525#. 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.
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 Arts & Humanities Research Council (UK), 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.