My new research project investigates the production of knowledge and the circulation of ideas about race and indigenous cultures in twentieth century Latin America. It focuses on Chilean-Peruvian intellectual networks during the first half of the century: who was speaking to whom and when, the mechanisms via which they were speaking, what the content and consequences of their conversations. Building on recent interest in the phenomenon of biographies, it supplements the previously dominant textual reading of Latin American public intellectuals with a deeper contextual understanding of (the family histories and institutional connections behind) their proclaimed attitudes towards and representations of indigenous peoples. It also draws on social network analysis (e.g. Becker, Bourdieu) and scholarly debates about the notion of ‘encounter’ (e.g. Levinas). Chilean and Peruvian intellectual collaborations and exchanges provide a particularly resonant case study for two main reasons. Firstly, because they take us beyond the narrative of antagonism and conflict that tends to dominate the existing scholarship on Chilean-Peruvian relations. Secondly, because most studies present Chilean and Peruvian national ‘imaginings’ as highly contrasting; my work on Chilean-Peruvian intellectual conversations about the ‘indigenous question’ helps to draw out the convergences between the political debates taking place in each country, and thereby ‘de-nationalises’ an issue that has largely been studied within the parameters of nation-building.