Assistant Professor of Anthropology and of Social Sciences in the College

PhD, University of California Berkeley, 2015

Mareike Winchell is an anthropologist who works at the intersection of critical Indigenous studies, the anthropology of history, and emergent bureaucratic cultures, particularly with respect to environmental governance. Her current book project, After Servitude: Cartographies of Indigenous Justice in Bolivia, examines widespread anxiety with the tenacity of Bolivia’s bonded past and queries the ethical habitations by which people render this past-in-present livable today. Building from fieldwork conducted at the National Institute of Agrarian Reform in Cochabamba and with Quechua groups in Ayopaya between 2010 to 2017, the book looks at land titling as a means to clarify rural land use and upend informal arrangements of unpaid labor. Alongside the study of state property titling, the research attends to the idioms of obligation and debt guiding exchange relations among late masters’ kin, indigenous workers, mine owners, earth deities, and animate landscapes in the aftermath of hacienda violence. In doing so, the work underlines how people recast hierarchy as a source of claim-making, one driven less toward aspirational equality than by a notion of differential obligation to history and to its unequal inheritors. Winchell is also developing a related archival project, tentatively titled Just Documents: Property, Possession, and the Postcolonial Archive, which draws from archival and ethnographic materials to focus on the land claims of illegitimate children born in Bolivian haciendas prior to the abolition of forced labor in 1953. In examining bureaucratic engagements with hacienda sexual economies, the work highlights the ways intimacy can operate as a site of ethical negotiation that straddles the ostensibly-disparate spheres of kinship and law. Winchell's research and writing has been supported by the Josephine de Karman Fellowship Trust, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, and the Townsend Center for the Humanities at Berkeley. Elements of her work have appeared in the Journal of Peasant StudiesHAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, and Cultural Anthropology. It has also been highlighted in UChicago's Dialogo series.

Contact Information

Office: Haskell 205
Phone: (773) 702-6755

Selected Publications

Just Documents? Property, Possession, and the Postcolonial Archive. Book Project.

After Servitude: Cartographies of Indigenous Justice in Bolivia. Book manuscript.


“Ecologies of injury: Soil loss and sensory critique in Bolivia’s potato capital.” Under review.

“’Liberty time’ in question: Temporal duration as critique in post-revolutionary Bolivia.” Under review.


“After Servitude: Bonded Histories and the Encumbrances of Exchange in Indigenizing Bolivia.” Journal of Peasant Studies 45 (2): 453-473.


“Economies of obligation: Patronage as relational wealth in Bolivian gold mining.” HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 7 (3): 1-25.


“Remapping.” Correspondences. Cultural Anthropology website. August 21, 2017.


On “Moral Ambitions of Grace.” [with Hannah Appel and Emily Yates-Doerr]. In Anthropology News, Cultural Anthropology Section News.