Date of Award

May 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Gladys McCormick

Second Advisor

Karin Rosemblatt


Chile, Indigenismo, Mapuche, Transnational

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities


This study examines Mapuche political organization in Chile from 1920-1960 through the lens of transnational indigenismo. In that period, politicians, academics and social reformers across the Americas were questioning how to incorporate indigenous populations into modern national states. While many historical accounts of similar phenomena in other countries have drawn categorical distinctions between indigenismo (as a movement led by white elites) and indigenous activism (led by Indians themselves), this work places the two phenomena side-by-side to explore connections between them. That approach shows that collaboration, periodic conflict and strategic alliance making were important components of indigenous politics in Chile. It also brings indigenous agency to the fore, and in doing so challenges historical interpretations of indigenismo that have characterized it as a paternalistic mechanism of the neocolonial state. It joins a growing body of scholarship that recognizes indigenismo as an important influence on and precursor to identity-based indigenous social movements that emerged in the late-twentieth century.


Open Access