Maria Fernanda Esteban Palma

I am interested in how people appropriate and use their ancestral legacies, including worldviews and material culture, as a means to gain self-understanding, community reinforcement and legal-political mobilization. My current research seeks to understand the impact that a century-old nationalist ideology of racial uniformity, uncontrolled poverty and a recent legislative shift favouring diversity have in the (re)emergence of indigenous groups in central Colombia. I am exploring the political agendas and other motivations that two groups of neighbors have had in order to become “indigenous”, and how their pressures to be and feel different enough from the urban majorities have transformed their daily lives, worldviews and sociolegal positioning.

Research Interests:

Cultural heritage preservation, material culture and semiotics, collaborative archaeologies, cultural authenticity, identity: self and groupness, the anthropology of ritual, the politics of recognition, the anthropology of power, cultural performance, indigenous peoples, Americas.