Ana Mariella Bacigalupo, an associate professor of anthropology at University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, is interested in the construction and experience of power and its relationship to colonization, discourses on tradition and modernity, gender and sexual identities, identity politics, history, and culture. She explores these issues by studying the practices of Mapuche shamans and by combining ethnographic and archival research with studies of popular culture and media.
At Radcliffe, Bacigalupo will complete a book about how the 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. Such mythohistories are simultaneously linear and cyclical: historical personages become mythical characters, and mythical happenings remanifest themselves in historical events. Because shamans and their actions are central to these mythohistories, Bacigalupo focuses on the life, death, and potential rebirth of one controversial shaman, Francisca Kolipi.
Bacigalupo received her PhD in anthropology from UCLA. She has won fellowships from Harvard Divinity School, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Humanities Center, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the School of Advanced Research, among others. Her books include Modernización o Sabiduría en Tierra Mapuche? (Modernization or traditional wisdom in Mapuche land?, San Pablo, 1995), La Voz Del Kultrun en la Modernidad: Tradición y Cambio en La Terapéutica de Siete Machi Mapuche (The voice of the drum in modernity: Tradition and change in the healing therapies of seven Mapuche shamans, Editorial Universidad Católica de Chile, 2001), and Shamans of the Foye Tree: Gender, Power, and Healing among Chilean Mapuche (University of Texas Press, 2007).