Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Associated Faculty, Divinity School; affiliate, Center for the Study of Race, Culture, and Politics, Center for Latin American Studies, and Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality

PhD, University of California Berkeley, 2015

Mareike Winchell is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago, with affiliations in the Divinity School, the Center for Latin American Studies, the Center for the Study of Race, Culture, and Politics, and the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality. A political anthropologist, Winchell focuses on the racialization of property in light of ongoing histories of Indigenous land dispossession, as well as how such formations find new expression in contemporary engagements with climate change. Her first book, After Servitude: Elusive Property and the Ethics of Kinship in Bolivia (University of California Press, 2022), traces the ways people call upon and actively repurpose the past in their efforts to navigate legacies of labor subjection and sexual violence. Such engagements reveal a more durative orientation to justice, one that departs notably from utopic projects of property that require disarticulating land and people, and the present from the past.

Winchell is currently at work on two new book projects. The first, "Ghostly Invasions: Political Theologies of Fire," focuses on the racialization of climate politics in Bolivia. The book traces the authoritarian tendencies of environmentalisms that preserve nature's purity and reproduce narratives of racialized guilt and responsibility. Conversely, it considers grounded collaborations—feminist horticultural projects, anti-imperialist environmental organizing, and land “restoration” efforts—that seek to move past the divide of standard conservation (with the separation of people and nature) and statist approaches that have often seen land redistribution and ecological protection as antithetical.

A second book, "The Servant’s Properties: Materiality, Gender, and More-than-Human Landscapes in 20th Century Bolivia," explores the legal claims of out-of-wedlock children born to indentured laborers after 1953. Based largely on archival materials, the book asks how incommensurate approaches to land and place came to be cemented within institutional knowledges, and what that process reveals about the remaking of property by non-secular orientations to landscapes and/as kin. More broadly, the project shows how marginalized hacienda workers transformed land relations and hierarchies through practices of bureaucratic maneuver and legal subversion.

Winchell’s writing and digital scholarship have appeared in Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (JRAI), Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, Cultural Anthropology, Journal of Peasant Studies, Critical Times, Bolivian Studies Journal, and Comparative Studies in Society and History. She has received generous funding from the Josephine de Karman Fellowship Trust, the Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, The Franke Institute for the Humanities, the Center for International Social Science Research (CISSR), and The Townsend Center for the Humanities. In 2021, Winchell was a finalist for the Mellon Emerging Faculty Leaders Award, awarded by the Institute for Citizens and Scholars (formerly the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Association).

Learn more about Winchell's research & read her published work at:

After Servitude (Book cover)

After Servitude: Elusive Property and the Ethics of Kinship in Bolivia is available for purchase here: 

Contact Information

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


In progress. Ghostly Invasions: Political Theologies of Fire in Post-Coup Bolivia. (book manuscript)

In progress. The Servant’s Properties: Materiality, Gender, and Other-than-Human Landscapes in 20th Century Bolivia. (book manuscript)

In preparation. Unbounding the field: Research reciprocities beyond objectivism. (article manuscript)

In preparation. 'A Future Facing the Past': Indigenous activism, ritual, and decolonial kinships in urban Bolivia. (article manuscript)

In preparation. 'Satan, be gone!': Evangelicalism, Indigeneity, and refusals of hybridity in post-coup Bolivia. (article manuscript)

In preparation. Making killing palatable: Ethical meat production, animal affections, and climate heroism in Bolivia. (article manuscript)

In preparation. Positive ecologies: Earth politics in extractivism’s shadow. (with Cymene Howe). (Introduction to an edited journal volume)

In preparation. Gendering racial capital: Masculinity, minerals, and settler detachment at a Bolivian sodalite mine. (article manuscript)

In Press. “Alterable Geographies: In/Humanity, Emancipation, and the Spatial Poetics of Lo Abigarrado in Bolivia.” (article to appear in Critical Times, guest editors Rajbir Singh Judge, Basit Kareem Iqbal, and Yannik Thiem.)   

In Press. “Beyond Innocence: Indigeneity and Violent Deployments of Political Un/Reason in Bolivia.” (article to appear in a special issue on “The Depth of the Bolivian Crisis 2019-2020” in The Bolivian Studies Journal, guest editors María Ximena Postigo G. and Ximena Córdova Oviedo.)

In Press. “Critical ontologies: Rethinking relations to other-than-humans from the Bolivian Andes.” (article to appear in the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute JRAI.) 

2022. After Servitude: Elusive Property and the Ethics of Kinship in Bolivia. (University of California Press)  

2021. "What Has Bolivia's Arce Achieved in His First 100 Days?" Inter-American Dialogue's Latin America Advisor, Featured Q&A, Tues February 16th 2021

2020. Liberty time in question: Historical duration and indigenous refusal in post-revolutionary Bolivia. Comparative Studies in Society and History 62(3): 551-587.

2020. Indigenous Citizenship and Political Action in Bolivia. entreVistas Episode 5. Featured interview.

2020. Why Have Bolivians Decided to Bring MAS Back to Power? Latin America Advisor. Featured Q&A. Tues, October 20, 2020.

2019. Ética. Debates do Ner 2(36): 191-199.

2018. After Servitude: Bonded Histories and the Encumbrances of Exchange in Indigenizing Bolivia. The Journal of Peasant Studies 45(2): 453-473.
2018. Archival Research in the Digital Age. Dialogo: UChicago Social Sciences.

2017. Economies of Obligation: Patronage as Relational Wealth in Bolivian Gold Mining. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 7(3): 1-25.

2017. Remapping. Cultural Anthropology.  

2009. “On Moral Ambitions of Grace.” (with Hannah Appel and Emily Yates-Doerr). Anthropology News.