Areas of Study and Research
PhD, University of California Berkeley, 2015
Mareike Winchell is a political anthropologist focused on the relational, ecological, and legal dimensions of racial and gender vulnerabilities related to ongoing histories of colonial labor subjection and Indigenous land dispossession. Winchell’s 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, including in aid relations across racial hierarchies, in institutional sites of Indigenous land redistribution, in labor organizing on the part of rural miners, and in acts of offering, sacrifice, and relationality with non-human kin and saints.
Winchell is currently at work on two new book projects. The first book, Ghostly Invasions: Political Theologies of Fire in Post-Coup Bolivia, focuses on the racialization of climate politics in Bolivia. The book traces the authoritarian tendences of environmentalisms that preserve nature's purity and reproduce narratives of racialized guilt and responsibility. Conversely, it considers grounded collaborations—feminist housing 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 cementing 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 Anthropology Institute (JRA), Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, Cultural Anthropology, Journal of Peasant Studies, Critical Times, Bolivian Studies Journal, and Comparative Studies in Society and History.
Learn more about Winchell's research & read her published work at: https://chicago.academia.edu/MareikeWinchell
After Servitude: Elusive Property and the Ethics of Kinship is available for purchase here: https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520386440/after-servitude