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"Tame the Museum," or the shamanic politics of postcolonial conflict: the Mapuche Museum of Cañete as an artifact (Wallmapu, Chile)

Grant number: 18/00894-5
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2018
Effective date (End): December 06, 2022
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Anthropology - Indigenous Ethnology
Principal researcher:Pedro de Niemeyer Cesarino
Grantee:Lucas da Costa Maciel
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):21/08174-4 - Collection as captivity, things as ancestors: ontological implications of heritage at the Mapuche Museum of Cañete, BE.EP.DR


This research aims to discuss how, in a broader context of political demand for autonomy, the Mapuche communities of southern South America appropriate and transform an institution of the Chilean State, a public and "colonial" museum, with cosmopolitical objectives; more specifically, the Mapuche Museum of Cañete, located in south-central Chile. The objectives that are outlined are to explore (1) the native theories of State and colonialism, and (2) the aesthetic and poetic capacity of Mapuche shamanism to heal the colonial effects through museographic language. Intertwining witchcraft, healing, colonialism and decolonization, it is important to discuss how a particular shamanic language is updated and how it connects with the regime of thought that organizes the process of "museum indigenization." To fulfill its aims, this research claims the Amerindian shamanism as a technology of intermediation between extensive and intensive alterities. Based on the imperative of a post-Malinowskian fieldwork, this project is developed in dialogue with the Mapuche Movements and focuses on the possibility of thinking about "Amerindian political actions" against the State and against the post-colonial regime in the process of building the indigenous autonomies.

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