Prof. Dr. Ana Mariella Bacigalupo

Curriculum Vitae

Ana Mariella Bacigalupo is Professor in the Department of Anthropology at SUNY Buffalo, chair of the section of Religion and Spirituality of the Latin American Studies Association, and Anthropology Coordinator for the National Institute of Health Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training Grant in Northern Peru. Prof Bacigalupo’s research has focused on cultural transformation, systems of knowledge, and power—all from the perspective of Mapuche shamans from Chile and Argentina, their communities, and their critics.  She analyzes how and why powerful outsiders imagine shamans as exotic remnants of a folkloric past, as sorcerers and gender deviants, as savage terrorists, or as lacking historical consciousness, and investigates the complex ways in which shamans and their communities challenge, transform, and play off these stereotypes in their discourses and practices for a variety of ends.  She has garnered numerous fellowships to support her research from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, The Radcliffe Institute at Harvard, the School of Advanced Research, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Rockefeller Foundation among others.

Professor Bacigalupo has published five books and fifty sole-authored articles and chapters about the operation of narrative, subject formation, agency, and power within different spiritual-political economies, gendered paradigms, historicities, ecologies, cosmologies, and healing systems. Her sole authored books include Thunder Shaman: Making History with Mapuche Spirits in Patagonia (University of Texas Press, forthcoming 2016); Shamans of the Foye Tree: Gender, Power and Healing Among the Chilean Mapuche (University of Texas Press, 2007); The Voice of the Drum in Modernity: Tradition and Change in the Practice of Seven Mapuche Shamans (Universidad Católica de Chile press, 2001); Hybridity in Mapuche “Traditional” Healing Methods: The Practice of Contemporary Mapuche Shamans (PAESMI 1996). She also co-authored Modernization and Wisdom in Mapuche Land (San Pablo Press, 1995).

During her time at the Max Planck Institute, Prof. Bacigalupo will work on a project on memory, violence, spirits, and sacrifice in southern Chile in the aftermath of General Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship, which lasted between 1973 and 1990. Human bones, one of the haunting traces of Pinochet’s dictatorship in Mapuche Chilean geographies, are not a fetish of a distant past but a constant reminder of the processes of destruction and violence that created them and their legacy in the present. Prof. Bacigalupo will examine how and why the wandering spirits of some Mapuche victims perpetuate this violence, while others are conceived through the idiom of sacrifice as honourable heroes who participate in and transform community politics.

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