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Marisol de la Cadena

Marisol de la Cadena


315 Young Hall Department of Anthropology
University of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue

Davis , CA 95616
Office Phone: (530) 752-0745

Office Hours for Fall 2016 :

  • Office hours: Monday 4:00-5:00pm


  1. 1996 Ph.D. Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  2. 1987 Diplome d'Etudes Approfondies (DEA), École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris, France)
  3. 1986 Master of Arts in Anthropology, University of Durham (England)
  4. 1985 Licenciatura en Antropología, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Lima


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Areas of Specialization

Indigeneities; Politics and the Political; Cultures of History and Memory; Science and Technology Studies (STS) (particularly the interface Science/Politics); World Anthropologies, Race Critical Theory; Anthropology of the State

(Areas: Latin America: Andes and Central America)

Recent Research

My first book, Indigenous Mestizos. The Politics of Race and Culture in Cuzco, Peru, 1910-1991, was an historical and ethnographic analysis of race relations in the Andes. I made two long standing contributions. a) Since the late nineteenth century a strong tendency has existed in Latin America to define race through culture and in opposition to biological considerations. While ‘cultural racism’, may be new for Europe, it is as old as race in Latin America. b) I observe ethnographically the processes through which local working classes separate themselves from Indianness—an abject colonized condition, and create a different one, the indigenous-mestizo, conceived within a fractal regional circuit (a socio-natural-economic-political configuration) composed through the articulation of “more than one yet less than two” (cf. Strathern 1994) cultural conditions.

I am currently writing a book, the working title of which is Alternative Archives: Understanding Indigenous Politics the Andean Way. I interrogate the relationship between indigeneity and “politics” and more specifically, the epistemic maneuver through which the power to decide what and who counts as its objects and subjects was invented. I draw inspiration from Mariano Turpo and his son Nazario two politicians-ritual specialists with whom I started ethnographic conversations in January 2002. Mariano, in our terms an illiterate and monolingual Quechua-speaker, was close to 100 years old when he died in April 2004. Back in the 1970s he had successfully organized a local movement to recover lands that had once belonged to his community, Pacchanta, a small hamlet located in the Andean sierras at 14,000 feet above sea level and a 14 hour drive from the city of Cuzco in Peru. Physically distant from national centers, Pacchanta is a place barely imagined by central Peruvian politicians. However, during his heyday as an organizer, Mariano was frequently visited by revolutionary leftists, who were frustrated at his refusal to abandon shamanism and had discarded him as a politician—yet maintained him as an ally, instrumental in organizing local opposition to landowners.  Today, Euro-American New Age healers guided by national and international travel agencies based in Cuzco, flock to Pacchanta every Northern summer seeking Mariano’s (and now his son Nazario’s) ‘shamanic wisdom’—yet they ignore the ways this practice affects the material world that surrounds Pacchanta, and makes politicians out of these ritual specialists. At this intriguing crossroads, I study a) local indigenous political practices that integrate nature and culture, secular and sacred spheres, and b) the exclusions (and inclusions) enacted on indigenous politics, nationally and globally, through notions of secularized politics and spiritualized ritual. 

While I am not a Science and Technology Studies scholar, my courses frequently draw inspiration from that literature. I situate my thinking at the interface between STS and ‘non-science studies.’ Mining this interface, I have begun to develop concepts, information, and contacts for my next immediate project: Tuberculosis in Cattle and Humans. In it I will explore the images of humans and animals that emerge from expert and non-expert knowledge practices for the control of the disease.  Hospitals and farms in California and Peru will be my main field sites.

With Arturo Escobar and Eduardo Restrepo, I have contributed to the development of the World Anthropology Network, an intellectual collective from which we have launched a number of initiatives in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. (see www.wan/

Some Classes taught

Cultures of History (exploring the concepts of archives, chronology, time, change, event), Politics and The Political (discussion of political theories e.g. Gramsci, Laclau and Mouffe, Rancière, Isabelle Stengers), Traveling Theory (co-taught via teleconference with Anna Tsing - UC Santa Cruz) and Ethnography as Theory (local concepts enabling ethnographic writing).

Recent Publications


2007   Raza como Cultura en America Latina (edited volume). Bogotá: Envion Editores.
2007   Indigenous Experience Today (edited volume with Orin Starn). London: Berg Publishers.
2004   Indígenas mestizos: raza y cultura en los Andes (Spanish translation with a new Preface). Lima: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos.
2000   Indigenous Mestizos: The Politics of Race and Culture in Cuzco Peru. Durham: Duke University Press, 420 pp. (Second edition: 2003).

Articles and Book Chapters (last four years)

2008   Anterioridades y Exterioridades de la Raza en América Latinae-misférica Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. November issue 5.2
2008   Indigenous Alternatives, Conceptual Proposals in LACES 4(1)
2008   Política Indigena Más Allá de la Política. in Crónicas Urbanas. Septiembre. Cuzco Peru
2006   ¿Son los mestizos híbridos? Las políticas conceptuales de las identidades andinas. Universitas Humanistica 61: 51-84. Bogotá D.C., Pontificia Universidad Javeriana.
2006   Escribir Otra historia del Perú—Segunda Vuelta. Ideele. Revista del Instituto de Defensa Legal (May 2006). Lima: Instituto de Defensa Legal.
2005   Are mestizos hybrids? The Conceptual Politics of Andean identities. Journal of Latin American Studies 37(2): 259-284.
2005   The Production of Other Knowledges and Its Tensions: From Andeanist Anthropology to Interculturalidad. In Gustavo Lins Ribeiro and Arturo Escobar (eds.), World Anthropologies. Disciplinary Transformations within Systems of Power, pp. 201-224. Oxford & New York, Berg Publishers.
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Dept. of Anthropology

328 Young Hall
One Shields Ave.
University of California
Davis, Ca 95616-8522

Ph.  530-752-0745
Fax. 530-752-8885