Marisol de la Cadena

portrait of Marisol de la Cadena

Position Title

1 Shields Avenue, Davis CA 95616


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


My first book, Indigenous Mestizos: The Politics of Race and Culture in Cuzco, Peru, 1910-1991, (2000) is an historical and ethnographic analysis of race relations in the Andes.

My recent book Earth Beings. Ecologies of Practice Across Andean Worlds (2015) is based on conversations with two Quechua speaking men that lived in Cuzco (Peru). Through these conversations we think together about life at the intriguing crossroads where modern politics (and history) and earth-beings (and the ahistorical) meet and diverge, thus exceeding each other. The book is an ethnography concerned with the concreteness of incommensurability and the eventfulness of the ahistorical.

Currently my field sites are cattle ranches and veterinary schools in Colombia. There I engage practices and relations between people, cows, and ‘things’ in general. Thinking at divergent bio/geo interfaces, I am interested in capturing “the stuff” that makes life and death in conditions of dramatic ecological and political change as the country endures extreme droughts and floods and wants to transition between the violence of war to a condition of peace that might not be without violence.

Research Focus

Located at the interface between STS and non-STS, and working through what I call “ontological openings” (fellow traveler of but different from what has been termed “ontological turn”), my interests include the study of politics, multispecies (or multi-entities), indigeneity, history and the a-historical, world anthropologies and the anthropologies of worlds. In all these areas my concern is the relationship between concepts and methods, and interfaces as analytical sites. More prosaically, I am interested in ethnographic concepts – those that blur the distinction between theory and the empirical because they are not without the latter.

(Areas: Latin America, more specifically Colombia and Peru)




  • 2018 A World of Many Worlds with Mario Blaser ed. vol. Duke University Press
  • 2017 “The Uncommons” editor with Mario Blaser. Special issue of Anthropologica. Journal of the Canadian Anthropological Society. 59:2
  • de la Cadena, M. (2015) Earth-Beings: Ecologies of Practice Across Andean Worlds (Morgan Lectures Series-Duke University Press)
  • de la Cadena, M. (2012) Cosmopolitiques dans les Andes et en Amazonie: Comment l’Autochtone politique influence-t-il la Politique? with Jorge Legoas, special issue of Recherches Amérindiennes au Quebec Vol XII (2-3)
  • de la Cadena, M. (2011) Cultures of Race and Hybridity in Latin America (SEPHIS-CSSSC, Netherlands, Calcutta)
  • de la Cadena, M. (2008) Formaciones de Indigeneidad. Articulaciones Raciales, Mestizaje y Nación en America Latina (edited volume). Bogotá: Envión Eds.
  • de la Cadena, M. (2007) Indigenous Experience Today (edited volume with Orin Starn). London: Berg Publishers.

Articles and Book Chapters (selected)

  • 2018 Sacred Mountains. Indigenous Religion and not Only. In World Multiple, Atsuro Morita editors Routledge.
  • 2018 Uncommoning Nature: stories from the Anthropo-not-seen. In Penelope Harvey et. al. Anthropos and the Material Duke University Press
  • de la Cadena, M. (2015) “Uncommoning nature” in e-flux August 2015
  • de la Cadena, M., & Lien, M. (2015) Anthropology and STS. Generative Interfaces. in HAU. Journal of Ethnographic Theory Vol 5 No 1
  • de la Cadena, M. (2015) Interfaces as ethnographic site that is also method in anthropology and STS. Generative Interfaces. HAU. Journal of Ethnographic Theory Vol 5 No 1
  • de la Cadena, M. (2014) Runa: Human but not only in HAU. Journal of Ethnographic Theory. Vol 4 No 2
  • de la Cadena, M. (2014) The politics of modern politics meets ethnographies of excess through ontological openings. In Fieldsights – Theorizing the Contemporary, Cultural Anthropology online,
  • de la Cadena, M. (2012) Cosmopolitics: How does indigenous politics affect politics? Introduction to Cosmopolitiques dans les Andes et en Amazonie: Comment l’Autochtone politique influence-t-il la Politique? with Jorge Legoas, in Recherches Amérindiennes au Quebec Vol XII (2-3)
  • de la Cadena M (2010) Indigenous Cosmopolitics in the Andes: Conceptual Reflections Beyond Politics Beyond Politics as Usual. Cultural Anthropology 25 (2)


  • Concepts as Methods
  • Living and Dying in a Changing Planet
  • Politics and the Political
  • Human-Animals-Plants and the Anthropocene


Grants (selected)

  • 2012-16 John E. Sawyer Mellon-Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Cultures
  • 2009-10 Wenner Gren Fo. Conference Support Grant (with Mario Blaser and Arturo Escobar)
  • 2008-9 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation-Research Fellowship
  • 2008-9 Wenner-Gren Foundation, Research Grant
  • 2007-8 American Philosophical Society-Research Fellowship


  • 2018 Senior Book Prize from the Association for Feminist Anthropology—American Anthropological Association
  • 2018 Distinguished Graduate and Post-Doctoral Mentoring Award---UC Davis
  • 2015 ‘Flora Tristán’ Best Book Award Latin American Studies Association LASA
  • 2015 Center for Advanced Studies. Norwegian Academy of Sciences. Invited Researcher
  • 2011 Lewis H. Morgan Lecture Series—Invited Speaker, University of Rochester
  • 2010 Guest Speaker, Mellon-Sawyer Seminar, University of Cape Town, South Africa
  • 2008 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation-Fellow