Assistant Professor of Anthropology and of Social Sciences in the College

Associated faculty, Divinity School

PhD, University of California Berkeley, 2015

Mareike Winchell is an anthropologist working at the intersection of critical indigenous studies, the anthropology of history, and environmental design. At the broadest level, her research explores the intersection of authority, intimacy, history, land, and governance with a focus on the interplay between vernacular traditions and rights-based, institutional approaches to indigenous justice. Winchell’s current book project, After Servitude: Indigenous Critique and the Undoing of Property in Revolutionary Bolivia, illuminates the unexpected ways that marginalized Bolivians re-elaborate colonial ruins as sources of ethical claim-making in the present. The book offers an ethnographic account of how intimate zones of inter-familial aid and alliance related to earlier institutions of bonded labor came to muddle bureaucratic efforts to install property—a project that, she argues, hinges on processes of both spatial and temporal re-inscription. She is developing two new research projects that build on her scholarly interest in indigenous claims, intimacy, and place. The first project, Just Documents: Property, Possession, and the Anti-Colonial Archive, draws from archival and ethnographic materials collected at Bolivia’s National Institute of Agrarian Reform to explore the legal claims of out-of-wedlock children (“natural children”) born to indentured laborers after 1953. A second project, On Fire: Emergent Environmentalisms and Anti-Indigenous Sentiment in Bolivia, undertakes a comparative ethnographic study of burning techniques and fire mitigation strategies in the Chiquitanios region of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. The project asks how, in the lead up to President Evo Morales' dramatic ousting from the Presidency in November 2019 and since, smoldering Cruzeño forests operate as key sites of national and international disagreement over resources, legitimate indigeneity, and planetary futures. Winchell’s writing and digital scholarship have appeared in Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, Cultural Anthropology, Journal of Peasant Studies, and Comparative Studies in Society and History.

Contact Information

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


N.d.     “Ontology, and Beyond: On the Creative Equivocations of Indigenous Nationalism in Bolivia.” In Life in the Extractocene: Hope and Death across Indigenous Worlds, edited by Manuel Tironi and Marcelo González Gálvez. Cultural Geographies + Rewriting the Earth Series at the University of Nebraska Press.

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

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

2018    “After servitude: bonded histories and the encumbrances of exchange in indigenizing Bolivia,” Journal of Peasant Studies 45(2): 453-473.

2017    “Economies of obligation: Patronage as relational wealth in Bolivian gold mining.” HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 7(3): 1-25.

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

Manuscripts in Preparation

N.d.    After Servitude: Indigenous Refusal and the Undoing of Property in Revolutionary Bolivia. Book manuscript.

N.d.    “’They wanted to lynch me’: Mineral Migrations, Racial Ecologies, and Aspirational Globalisms in Post-Neoliberal Bolivia.” Article manuscript.

Manuscripts in Progress

N.d.    Just Documents: Property and Possession in the Anti-Colonial Archive. Archival-ethnographic book project.

N.d.    On Fire: Emergent Environmentalisms and Anti-Indigenous Sentiment in Bolivia. Book and collaborative media project.

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