Southern Cone Studies

A Section of the Latin American Studies Association

2012 Radcliffe Institute Fellowship for Ana Mariella Bacigalupo on Mapuche decolonizing histories

Apr 28, 2012 | Personal and Professional Notes

Ana Mariella Bacigalupo (University at Buffalo) was granted a Radcliffe Fellowship at Harvard for the 2012-2013 academic year to complete her book The Lives of Francisca Kolipi: Mapuche Shamans and Mythohistory in Southern Chile. This book is under contract with The University of Texas Press.

Bacigalupo explores the way indigenous Mapuche people in southern Chile use biographical mythohistories to challenge Western-style, Chilean history—the history of their subordination—and to express their past in terms of their own historical consciousness. Mapuche biographical mythohistories are simultaneously linear and cyclical: historical personages become mythical characters, and mythical happenings remanifest themselves in historical events. Because Mapuche shamans and their actions are central to these mythohistories, Bacigalupo focuses on the life, death, andpotential rebirth of one controversial Catholic mestiza shaman, Francisca Kolipi, in the Mapuche community of Millali. Mapuche create mythohistories by mythologizing such shamans and historical outsiders, prioritizing spiritual agency over political agency, narratively reversing the usual colonial dynamics of subordination, and using ethnographies and texts of colonization in magical ways.