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


2022. After Servitude: Elusive Property and the Ethics of Kinship in Bolivia. Oakland: University of California Press.  
In progress. Ghostly Invasions: Political Theologies of Fire. Book manuscript. 
In progress. The Servant’s Properties: Materiality, Gender, and Other-than-Human Landscapes in 20th Century Bolivia. Book manuscript. 

JOURNAL ARTICLES AND BOOK CHAPTERS (*indicates peer-reviewed)

In preparation. *“Property and Subaltern Pasts.” (Chapter draft for Routledge Handbook of Subalterns Across History, edited by Saurabh Dube and Ishita Banerjee, eds. to be submitted to Routledge Press).
In preparation. *“A Future Facing the Past: Indigenous Revivalism, Ritual, and Decolonial Kinship in Bolivia.” (Chapter manuscript for an edited volume to be submitted to University of Minnesota Press, co-edited with Ana Mariella Bacigalupo and Cymene Howe) 
In preparation. * “Making Killing Palatable: Ethical Meat Production, Racialized Expertise, and Climate Heroism in Lowland Bolivia.” (Article manuscript) 
In preparation. *“’Satan, be gone!’: Evangelicalism, Indigeneity, and Refusals of Hybridity in Post-coup Bolivia.” (Article manuscript.)
Under review. “Climates of Anti-Blackness: Religion and Environmental Politics in Bolivia.” (Essay in preparation for Canopy Forum: On the Interactions of Law and Religion.)
Under review. *“Gendering racial capital: Masculinity, minerals, and settler detachment at a Bolivian sodalite mine.” (article for a special issueco-edited with Cymene Howe.) 
Under review. *”Positive Ecologies: Earth Politics in Extractivism’s Shadow” (with Cymene Howe), (introduction to a special issue co-edited with Cymene Howe, with contributions by Macarena Gómez-Barris, Marisol de la Cadena, Lesley Green, Ana Mariella Bacigalupo, and Ryan Jobson.) 
Under review. *“Unbounding the Field: Research Entanglements beyond Objectivism.” (Article for a special issue on Field Theory, for the journal Postmodern Culture: Journal of Interdisciplinary Thought on Contemporary Cultures, guest editor Jeff Diamanti.) 
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.)
In press. *”Beyond Innocence: Indigeneity and Violent Deployments of Political Un/Reason in Bolivia.” (Article in 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. *“Alterable Geographies: In/Humanity, Emancipation, and the Spatial Poetics of Lo Abigarrado in Bolivia.” (Article in special issue on “The Destruction of Loss” in Critical Times, guest editors Rajbir Singh Judge and Basit Kareem Iqbal.) 
In press. “Racial Property: From Colonial Theft to Indigenous Reparation in Bolivia.” Essay for Terrain: Anthropologie & Sciences Humaines. 
2022. “Racial Violence, Land, and Indigenous Reparation in Bolivia.” UC Press blog. November 8th, 2022. 
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. “Why Have Bolivians Decided to Bring MAS Back to Power?” Inter-American Dialogue’s Latin America Advisor. Featured Q&A. Tues, October 20, 2020.
2020. “Indigenous Citizenship and Political Action in Bolivia.” entreVistas Episode 5. Featured  interview.
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.  
2010. “On ‘Moral Ambitions of Grace,’” Anthropology News: 46. Section News. Co-published with Hannah Appel and Emily Yates-Doerr.