Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Humanities: Interdisciplinary Studies in Culture

Second Department

Hispanic Studies

Reader 1

Gabriela Santizo

Reader 2

David Roselli

Reader 3

Jennifer Wood

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2013 Caitlin Hanavan


In order to survive assimilative pressures since the time of colonization, the marginalized Mapuche people have been forced to hybridize with dominant normative gender, ethnic, and religious constructs of the Chilean state. Historically competing beliefs and practices fueled imperious, state-driven hegemonic modes of domination through structural oppression of the Mapuche in attempt to normalize the distinct indigenous population. When assimilation failed, the enduring clash of beliefs and practices led to the construction of indigenous difference as deviant and inferior to justify marginalization of the Mapuche people. This thesis illustrates how contemporary issues of health embody the deeply rooted conflict between the Mapuche and the Chilean nation. It examines three examples of the clash, resistance, and adaptation of Mapuche health practices and concepts within the construction of the state in this assimilative process. These three instances of unequal hybridization of cultures are 1) the development of the traditional Mapuche healer, the machi, 2) the incidence and conceptualization of sexually transmitted disease within the Mapuche community, and 3) the change in food practices and consumption in Mapuche communities.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.