The Abya-Yala publishing house can be considered as one of the biggest producers of social studies texts in South America. In Ecuador Abya-Yala publications represent 70% of the whole national publishing volume. Today our catalogue includes more than 1800 books which mean about 4500 articles with 2000 published authors; 320 of them are indigenous ones.
The reach of the institutional, cultural, regional, geographic and thematic diversity of Abya-Yala’s production is so wide that you can find references about almost all the native nations of the continent and their idioms, and identify more than 300 counterparts and events which were used as a base for its production.
Abya-Yala history begins in 1975 when Father Juan Bottasso, presently president of the publishing house, created the Mundo Shuar collection: it was part of an ambitious cultural project that was aimed to create a small encyclopedia about the Shuar people which would include a translation of key anthropologic works about their history and culture.
From 1975 untill 1983, about 140 books classified in six series were published with a collective work which gathered missionaries, young Shuars, volunteers, local investigators and foreign anthropologists. Thanks to this work the Shuar culture is, among the Amazonian cultures, the one with the bigger number of books published about.
In 1980 the publishing experience was enlarged to other native cultures from the Andean area, encouraged by the strengthening of native Indian organizations and the intercultural and bilingual education program. The consequence was the birth of another publishing Collection called Mundo Andino which was dedicated to studies and productions linked to other native Ecuadorian people.
In 1983, both collections (Mundo Andino and Mundo Shuar) gathered more than 200 books. At this time, while contacts between international academic institutions were intensified, the continental-ranged native movement began to be evident and the indigenous issue was becoming one of the most important in South American anthropology and sociology. Offers to publish works about foreign cultures went growing and it become necessary to create a unique publishing label: Abya-Yala. It’s a word used by Kuna Amerindians from Panama to denominate the whole American continent (The choice of this name, which means “Land at the height of maturity”, used to name the American continent was suggested by the Aymara leader Takir Mamani who proposes that all native Amerindian people should use it in their written documents and oral statements. According to him:"“The fact of using foreign words to name our cities, people and continents is equal to put our identity under the control and the will of the invaders and their heirs.").
Among the distinctions received by Abya-Yala we can mention: the International Prize Bartolome de las Casas awarded by the Spanish government (1992); the Ecuadorian Education and Culture Ministry prize to the Best Ecuadorian publishing house (1998); and the first Pio Jaramillo Alvarado prize for Social Studies awarded by the FLACSO (1998). .
Av. 12 de Octubre N2422 y Wilson, Bloque A UPS, P.O.Box 17-12-719
Phone numbers (593-2) 3962800 ext. 2638, 2506255 FAX: 2506267, Quito - Ecuador
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