Ana Mariella Bacigalupo


Ana Bacigalupo.

Ana Mariella Bacigalupo


Ana Mariella Bacigalupo


Research Topics

New materialisms, transformational politics; critical race and indigenous theories; queer theory; decolonial methodologies; social and environmental justice; climate justice; cosmopolitics; the Colonial Anthropocene and its critics; the more than human; shamanism; social and historical consciousness; environmental humanities; embodiment and phenomenology; the politics of power and authority; death and dying; self and personhood; genders and sexualities; historicity; social memory and indigenous histories; anthropology of religion; medical anthropology; environmental anthropology; the Global South; indigenous Latin America; Mapuche; Chile; northern Peru.


Through her work on the consciousness and transformational politics of more-than-humans (sentient landscapes, spirits, shamans, the undead), Professor Bacigalupo rethinks previously theorized epistemologies, politics, and forms of power to produce decolonial knowledge. She shows how more-than-human places challenge traditional ideas of personhood and drive collective ethics and social and environmental justice. Drawing from critical race and feminist theory, queer theory, new materialism and studies of indigeneity in the Colonial Anthropocene, Professor Bacigalupo analyzes the social, political, and cultural implications of more-than-human consciousness and queer shamanic politics, which challenge state histories, contemporary understandings of time, writing, and social and historical memory.

Professor Bacigalupo shows how shamanic discourses and practices (as they interact with more-than-humans) can be superb tools for transforming colonial and neocolonial structures of power—and for producing new logics and decolonizing epistemologies, methodologies, and theories in academia—because they challenge Western assumptions about the nature and organization of the world in myriad ways. Shamanic practice troubles the distinction between life and non-life; past, present, and future; human and more-than-human; nature and culture; history and myth; matter and spirit; and man and woman, as well as capitalist divisions of species, landscapes, and peoples that discredit Indigenous practices which collapse these categories. Professor Bacigalupo argues that because shamans mediate within and between worlds and temporalities, they offer a particularly productive place from which to question power and envision new realities and futures. She traces the many forms of social critique wielded by Indigenous shamans—from gender and landscape constructions to history, memory, and politics. Professor Bacigalupo also studies their roles as public intellectuals who offer alternative visions that inform Indigenous political mobilization and shape the larger politics of knowledge throughout Chile, Peru, and the world.

Professor Bacigalupo is the  author of Thunder Shaman: Making History with Mapuche Spirits in Patagonia (University of Texas Press, 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). Bacigalupo has also published over sixty peer reviewed articles and book chapters.

Professor Bacigalupo’s research has been supported by numerous external grants and fellowships from a prestigious Foundations including the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Max Planck Institute, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Rockefeller Foundation, the School of Advanced Research, the National Humanities Center, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Wenner Gren Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation, the Stanford Humanities Center, the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study,  the American Association of University Women, Harvard Divinity School and the Center for World Religions at Harvard University.

At the University at Buffalo Professor Bacigalupo received the Humanities Institute Faculty Research Fellowship, the Outstanding Young Investigator Award, the UB 2020 award for Excellence in Cultural, Historical and Literary/Textual Studies, the Milton Plesur Teaching Award, the Meyerson Award for Undergraduate Teaching and Mentoring, the Civic Engagement Fellowship; the Community for Global Health Equity grant; the Research Grant from the Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy; the Faculty Internationalization Research Grant, the Gender Institute Faculty Research Award, and the OVPRED/HI Seed Money in the Arts and Humanities grant.

Professor Bacigalupo served as chair of the section of Religion and Spirituality of the Latin American Studies Association and Program Councilor for the Society for Latin American and the Caribbean Anthropology. She serves on the Board of the Anthropology of Religion section of the American Anthropological Association and on the board of the Indigenous Religions section of the American Academy of Religion among others. Bacigalupo is also the Anthropology Coordinator for the National Institute of Health, Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training Grant in Peru through San Diego State University. She collaborates with Douglas Sharon (San Diego State University), Gail Willsky and Linda Kahn (UB School of Medicine), Rainer Bussman (Missouri Botanical gardens) and others on this project.


  • PhD, University of California, Los Angeles
  • MA, University of California, Los Angeles
  • MA, Universidad Catolica de Chile, Santiago
  • BA, Universidad Catolica de Chile, Santiago

Courses Offered

Undergraduate Courses

  • APY 106 | Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • APY 324 | Approaches to the Study of Religion
  • APY 394 | Healing and Religion in Native South America
  • APY 421 | The Anthropology of Death and Dying

Graduate Courses

  • APY 508 | The Field Experience: Ethnographic Perspectives and Methods
  • APY 591 | Nationalism, Transnationalism and Global Culture
  • APY 565 | Gender and Healing in the Americas: Native and Creole Perspectives
  • APY 565 | Course in Mapuche Intercultural Health
  • APY 575 | Social Memory: Narrative, Mementoes, Embodiment, And Forgetting
  • APY 603 | Anthropology of the Body

Selected Publications


  • 2016       Thunder Shaman: Making History with Mapuche Spirits in Chile and Patagonia. Austin: University of Texas Press.
  • 2007       Shamans of the Foye Tree: Gender, Power, and Healing among the Chilean Mapuche. Austin: University of Texas Press. 321 pp.
  • 2001       La voz del kultrun en la modernidad: Tradición y cambio en la terapéutica de siete machi Mapuche [The voice of the drum in modernity: Tradition and change in the healing therapies of seven Mapuche shamans]. Santiago: Editorial Universidad Católica de Chile. 271 pp.
  • 1996       Adaptación de los métodos de curación “tradicionales” Mapuche: La práctica de la machi contemporánea en Chile [Hybridity in Mapuche “traditional” healing methods: The practice of contemporary Mapuche shamans]. Santiago: PAESMI. 66 pp.
  • 1995       Modernización o sabiduría en tierra Mapuche? [Modernization or traditional wisdom in Mapuche land?]. Co-authored with Armando Marileo, Ricardo Salas, Ramón Curivil, Cristián Parker, and Alejandro Saavedra. Santiago: San Pablo. 198 pp.
Articles and Book Chapters (in English)
  • 2021       “Subversive Cosmopolitics in the Anthropocene: On Sentient Landscapes and the Ethical Imperative in Northern Peru.” In Climate Politics and the Power of Religion  edited by Evan Berry. Indiana University Press.
  • 2018        “The Mapuche Undead Never Forget: Traumatic Memory and Cosmopolitics in Post-Pinochet Chile: Anthropology and Humanism 43 (2):1-21.
  • 2018         “Shamanic Rebirth and the Paradox of Disremembering the Dead Among Mapuche in Chile” In  A Companion to the Anthropology of Death, First Edition. Edited by Antonius C. G. M. Robben, 279-291. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  • 2017         “The Life, Death, and Rebirth of a Mapuche Shaman: Remembering, Disremembering, and the Willful Transformation of Memory “ In Death, Mourning and Burial: A Cross-Cultural Reader, Second Edition edited by Antonius C.G.M. Robben, 276-292. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • 2016       “The Paradox of Disremembering the Dead: Ritual, Memory, and Embodied Historicity in Mapuche Shamanic Personhood.” Anthropology and Humanism 41.
  • Forthcoming 2016  “Indigenous Bibles as Subjectivized Animated Objects: Mapuche Shamanic Literacy and Rebirth.” In Materialities of the Occult, edited by Jonathan Hill and Giovanni Da Col. Champaign: University of Illinois Press.
  • 2014       “The Potency of Indigenous Bibles and Biography: Mapuche Shamanic Literacy and Historical Consciousness.” American Ethnologist 41 (4): 648–663.
  • 2013       “Mapuche Struggles to Obliterate Dominant History: Mythohistory, Spiritual Agency, and Shamanic Historical Consciousness in Southern Chile.” Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power 20 (1): 77–95.
  • 2010       “The Life, Death, and Rebirth of a Mapuche Shaman: Remembering, Forgetting and the Willful Transformation of Memory.” Journal of Anthropological Research 66 (1): 97–119.
  • 2008       “The Re-invention of Mapuche Male Shamans as Catholic Priests: Legitimizing Indigenous Co-gender Identities in Modern Chile.” In Native Christians: Modes and Effects of Christianity among Indigenous Peoples of the Americas, edited by Robin Wright and Aparecida Vilaca, 89–108. Aldershot: Ashgate Press.
  • 2005       “The Creation of a Mapuche Sorcerer: Sexual Ambivalence, the Commodification of Knowledge, and the Coveting of Wealth.” Journal of Anthropological Research 61 (3): 317–336.
  • 2005       “Gendered Rituals for Cosmic Order: Mapuche Shamanic Struggles for Healing and Fertility.” Journal of Ritual Studies 19 (2): 53–69.
  • 2004       “The Mapuche Man Who Became a Woman Shaman: Selfhood, Gender Transgression, and Competing Cultural Norms.” American Ethnologist 31 (3): 440–457.
  • 2004       “Ritual Gendered Relationships: Kinship, Marriage, Mastery, and Machi Modes of Personhood.” Journal of Anthropological Research 60 (2): 203–229. Repr.,2010, Women and Indigenous Religions, edited by Sylvia Marcos, 2010, 145–176. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO/Praeger Press.
  • 2004       “Shamans’ Pragmatic Gendered Negotiations with Mapuche Resistance Movements and Chilean Political Authorities.” Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power 11 (4): 501–541.
  • 2004       “The Struggle for Machi Masculinities: Colonial Politics of Gender, Sexuality and Power in Chile.” Ethnohistory 51 (3): 489–533.
  • 2004       “Local Shamanic Knowledges: A Response to Guillaume Boccara.” L’Homme 169: 219–224.
  • 2003       “Rethinking Identity and Feminism: Contributions of Mapuche Women and Machi from Southern Chile.” Hypatia 18 (2): 32–57.
  • 2001       “The Rise of the Mapuche Moon Priestess in Southern Chile.” Annual Review of Women in World Religions 6: 208–259.
  • 2000       “Shamanism as Reflexive Discourse: Gender, Sexuality and Power in the Mapuche Religious Experience.” In Gender, Bodies, Religions, edited by Sylvia Marcos, 275–295. Cuernavaca: ALER.
  • 1999       “Studying Mapuche Shaman/Healers from an Experiential Perspective: Ethical and Methodological Problems.” Anthropology of Consciousness 10 (2–3): 35–40.
  • 1998       “The Exorcising Sounds of Warfare: Shamanic Healing and the Struggle to Remain Mapuche.” Anthropology of Consciousness 9 (5): 1–16.
  • 1996       “Mapuche Women’s Empowerment as Shaman/Healers.” Annual Review of Women in World Religions 4: 57–129.
  • 1995       “Renouncing Shamanistic Practice: The Conflict of Individual and Culture Experienced by a Mapuche Machi.” Anthropology of Consciousness 6 (3): 1–16.

Articulos y Capitulos en Castellano y Frances

  • 2020        “Las luchas mapuche para aniquilar a la historia dominante: mitohistoria, capacidad espiritual de accionar y conciencia histórica chamánica en el sur de Chile” MITOLOGICAS, Vol. XXXV: 155-180.
  • 2019       “La política subversiva de los lugares sensibles. Cambio climático, ética colectiva y justicia ambiental en el Norte del Perú” “En “Montañas y Paisajes Sagrados Mundos Religiosos, Cambio Climático y Las Implicaciones Del Retiro De Los Glaciares. Editado por Robert Albro. Universidad Antonio Ruiz de Montoya (UARM), Pp. 29-61 Lima Perú.
  • 2018        “La Política Subversiva de los Lugares Sentientes’: Cambio Climático, Ética Colectiva y Justicia Ambiental en el Norte de Perú” Scripta Ethnologica, 40:9-38.           
  • 2018        “El uso subversivo de documentos de archivo y biblias por Mapuche en Chile y el surgimiento de archivos alternativos” Scripta Ethnologica 39:9-47.
  • 2017        “El Fantasma de la Violencia Estatal Chilena en Comunidades Mapuche: Metáforas de Terror, Poder de Accionar de los No-Finados, y Políticas Encarnadas del Sufrimiento.” Mitologicas  32:9-34.
  • 2015        "Historias encarnadas colectivas de los Mapuche de Chile: Transformación ritual del pasado y del futuro" Scripta Ethnologica 37: 39-80.
  • 2015        “El Tiempo del Trueno Guerrero Mapuche: Lo Silvestre, el Estado Chileno Salvaje, y las Machi Civilizadas" Mitologicas 30: 9-60.
  • 2015       Grafismo, Multitemporalidad y Textos como Objetos de Poder en la Biografia de una Machi Mapuche en Chile Revista Chilena de Antropología  31(1):11-29.
  • 2014       “Grafismo chamánico, conciencia histórica Mapuche, y biblias como objetos rituales de poder en Chile.” Scripta Ethnologica 36: 42–77. Repr., 2015, Revista Chilena de Antropología 32).
  • 2013       “Pasados y futuros corporales performativos: La escritura como una forma chamánica Mapuche para acumular y hacer circular el poder.” Scripta Ethnologica 35: 7–31.
  • 2013       “Las mujeres machi en el siglo XX–XI: ¿Personificación de la tradición o desafío a las normas de género?” In Historia de las mujeres en Chile siglos XX–XI, edited by Ana Maria Stuven and Joaquín Fermandois, 433–502. Santiago: Editorial Taurus.
  • 2012       “El hombre Mapuche que se convirtió en mujer chamán: Individualidad, transgresión de género y normas culturales en Pugna.” Scripta Ethnologica 33: 9–40.
  • 2012       “Las cargas carismáticas del cautiverio Mapuche: La machi Alemana-Mapuche y su conciencia histórica chamánica.” Revista Escrituras Americanas 1 (1): 2–43.
  • 2010. “Vida, muerte y renacimiento de una machi Mapuche: Recordar, desrecordar y la transformación deliberada de la memoria.” Revista de Historia Indígena 11: 7–32.
  • 2010. “Relaciones de género ritual: Parentesco, matrimonio, dominio y modalidades de persona de los chamanes Mapuche.” Scripta Ethnologica 32: 59–89. Repr.,2010, Revista Austral de Ciencias Sociales 18: 83-106.
  • 2010       “Las prácticas espirituales de poder de los machi y su relación con la resistencia Mapuche y el estado chileno.” Revista Chilena de Antropología 21: 9–37.
  • 2004       “Rituales de género para el orden cósmico: Luchas chamánicas Mapuche por la totalidad.” Revista Chilena de Antropología 17: 47–74. Repr., 2004, Scripta Ethnologica 26: 9-38.
  • 2004       “La lucha por la masculinidad de machi: Políticas coloniales degénero, sexualidad y poder en el sur de Chile.” Revista de Historia Indígena 6: 29–64,
  • 2001       “El rol del medicinar en la recreación de la identidad Mapuche: Voces de resistencia, hibridez y transformación en las prácticas de machi” Scripta Ethnologica 23: 89–119.
  • 1997       “Las múltiples máscaras de Ngünechen: Las batallas ontológicas y semánticas del ser supremo Mapuche en Chile” Journal of Latin American Lore 20 (1): 173–204. Repr., 1997 Scripta Ethnológica 19.
  • 1998       “Les chamanes Mapuche et l’expérience religieuse masculine et féminine” Anthropologie et Sociétés 22 (2): 123–143.
  • 1996       “Identidad, espacio y dualidad en los perimontun (visiones) de machi Mapuche” Scripta Ethnologica 18: 37–63.
  • 1996       “Imágenes de diversidad y consenso: La cosmovisión Mapuche a través de trés machi”. Aisthesis 28: 120–141. Repr., 1996,  Mitológicas 11.
  • 1995       “El rol sacerdotal de la machi en los valles centrales de la Araucanía.” In Modernización o sabiduría en tierra Mapuche? edited by Armando Marileo, Ana Mariella Bacigalupo, Ricardo Salas, Ramón Curivil, Cristián Parker, and Alejandro Saavedra, 51–98. Santiago: Ediciones San Pablo.
  • 1995       “La cosmovisión Mapuche a través del pensamiento chamanístico: El estudio de trés casos.” In Comprensión del pensamiento indígena a través de sus relatos orales II, edited by Yosuke Kuramochi, 11–56. Quito: Abya Yala Editions.
  • 1994       “El poder de las machi Mapuche en los valles centrales de la Araucanía.” In Comprensión del pensamiento indígena a través de sus expresiones verbales, edited by Yosuke Kuramochi, 11–55. Quito: Abya Yala Editions.
  • 1994       “Variación de rol de machi en la cultura Mapuche: Tipología geográfica, adaptiva e iniciática”. Revista Chilena de Antropología 12: 19–43.