The Potency of Indigenous Bibles and Biographies

General Programming

  • Brian Goldstone
  • Free and open to the public
  • First come, first seated

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].

  • 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