Ernesto Benitez holds a PhD in Global and Sociocultural Studies with a concentration in Sociocultural Anthropology from Florida International University (2021). His long-term research is grounded in a decade-long ethnographic engagement with the Amazonian Kichwa (also spelled Quichua) people of Ecuador’s Napo province. He has paid particular attention to the ecotourism boom that occurred in Ecuador’s Upper Amazon in the early 1990s and the impact it has had on the livelihoods and identities of Kichwa people, many of whom have gradually shifted from agricultural and subsistence-based activities to service-based work in ecotourism. His dissertation offers an ethnographic account of how Kichwa tour guides in Napo, the vast majority of whom are young men, negotiate the demands and expectations of the ecotourism industry and how, in the process, they produce and enact new understandings of their ethnic, gendered, and sexual identities.
2021-Erazo, Juliet and Ernesto Benitez. “Becoming Politicians”: Indigenous Pageants as Training Sites for Public Life. (Forthcoming on American Anthropologist).