The Society of Fellows in the Humanities Presents “The Potency of Indigenous Bibles and Biographies”

Monday, October 27, 2014  6:15pm The Heyman Center, Second Floor Common Room


Society of Fellows in the Humanities

Mapuche oral shamanic biographies and performances—some of which take the form of “Bibles” and shamanic literacies—play a central role in the production of indigenous history in southern Chile. In this talk, titled "The Potency of Indigenous Bibles and Biographies: Mapuche Shamanic Literacy and Historical Consciousness," Professor Bacigalupo explains how and why a mixed-race Mapuche shaman charged her to write about the shaman's life and practice in the form of a “Bible.” The book would become a ritual object and a means of storing the Mapuche woman's shamanic power by textualizing it, thereby allowing her to speak to a future audience. The realities and powers her “Bible” stories can be extracted, transformed, circulated, and actualized for a variety of ends, even to bring about shamanic rebirth. Ultimately, Professor Bacigalupo argues that through their use and interpretation of this “Bible,” Mapuche shamans in southern Chile expand academic notions of indigenous history and literacy. [shaman, text, Bible, mestizo, history, literacy, Mapuche, Chile].

The talk is organized by Brian Goldstone, Fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Humanities and Lecturer in Anthropolgy.

Event is free and open to the public. Seating is first come, first served.


  • Ana Mariella Bacigalupo

    Associate Professor of Anthropology

    University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

  • Laurel Kendall

    Adjunct Professor of Anthropology

    Columbia University

  • Jennifer Cole

    Professor, Department of Comparative Human Development

    University of Chicago


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