Claudia Zapata

Claudia Zapata holds a doctorate in history with a specialization in ethnohistory from the University of Chile. She is an Assistant Professor at the Center of Cultural Studies at the University of Chile, where she teaches at the undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral levels, as well as provides instruction for research projects and continuing education. Her publications include the books Intelectuales indígenas en Ecuador, Bolivia y Chile (Indigenous Intellectuals in Ecuador, Bolivia, and Chile, three editions: Quito 2013, La Habana 2015, Santiago 2017); Frantz Fanon desde América Latina. Lecturas de un pensador del siglo XX, (Frantz Fanon from Latin America. Contemporary Readings by a Twentieth Century Thinker, Buenos Aires, 2013), which she co-authored with Elena Oliva and Lucía Stecher; and Postcolonialidad y nación (Postcoloniality and Nation, Santiago, 2003), co-authored with Grínor Rojo and Alicia Salomone. She is also the author of articles and opinion pieces that have been published both in Chile and abroad, in countries such as Mexico, Cuba, Brazil, Ecuador, Argentina, Italy, and Mozambique.

She is currently the researcher in charge of the FONDECYT project “Representations of difference and proposals for cultural diversity in the writing of authors of indigenous and African descent in Latin America since 1950” (Representaciones de la diferencia y propuestas sobre diversidad cultural en la escritura de autores afrodescendientes e indígenas en América Latina a partir de 1950). In 2015, she received the Casa Las Americas (Cuba) Ezequiel Martínez Estrada Essay Award for the volume Intelectuales indígenas en Ecuador, Bolivia y Chile. Diferencia, colonialismo y anticolonialismo (Indigenous Intellectuals in Ecuador, Bolivia, and Chile. Difference, colonialism and anti-colonialism).

Research areas

  • Ethnic identities and Contemporary indigenous movements.
  • Indigenous and Afro-descendant intellectuals.
  • Latin American thought.
  • Contemporary history of Latin America.


Monographies (selection)

2019. Crisis del multiculturalsimo. Conflictividad social y respuestas críticas desde el pensamiento político indígena. Guadalajara / Bielefeld / San José / Quito / Buenos Aires: CALAS/ Bielefeld University Press.

2017. Intelectuales indígenas en Ecuador, Bolivia y Chile. Diferencia, colonialismo y anticolonialismo, LOM Ediciones, Santiago. Tercera edición. (otras ediciones La Habana: Fondo Editorial Casa de las Américas 2015, Quito: Abya Yala 2013). El libro recibió en enero de 2015 el Premio de Ensayo Ezequiel Martínez Estrada de Casa de las Américas, Cuba.


Compilations (selection)

2013. Oliva, Elena; Stecher, Lucía and  Zapata, Claudia (coords.). Frantz Fanon desde América Latina. Lecturas contemporáneas de un pensador del siglo XX, Ediciones Corregidor, Serie Contemporáneos, Buenos Aires, 288 p.

2011. Oliva, Elena; Stecher, Lucía and Zapata, Claudia (coords.). Aimé Césaire desde América Latina. Diálogos con el poeta de la negritud, Ediciones Facultad de Filosofía y Humanidades, Universidad de Chile, Santiago.


Articles / Chapters (selection)

2017. (forthcoming) “Cartas Pehuenches: los albores de una nación y el espejo indígena”, Historia Crítica de la Literatura Chilena, Tomo II (Grínor Rojo y Bernardo Subercaseaux, edits.). Lom, Santiago de Chile. 

2017. (forthcoming) “Memorias del asfalto. Los mapuche urbanos en la poesía de David Aniñir Guilitraro”. Taller de Letras, Nº 61, Instituto de Letras PUC, Santiago, segundo semestre. 

2017. Zapata, Claudia and Anita Rojas. “Formación de intelectuales mapuche en Chile: el caso del Programa Internacional de Becas de la Fundación Ford”. Andamios. Revista de Investigación Social, Nº 33, Universidad Autónoma de la Ciudad de México, México D.F, enero-abril, pp. 325-345. 

2016. “La universidad pública frente a la desigualdad social. Apuntes para una evaluación (auto) crítica”. Anales de la Universidad de Chile, Séptima Serie, Nº 11, pp. 139-156. 

2016. Zapata, Claudia and  Elena Oliva. “Frantz Fanon en el pensamiento de Fausto Reinaga: cultura, revolución y nuevo humanismo”. Alpha, Nº 42, Osorno, junio, pp. 177-196. 

2015. “Intelectuales públicos, intelectuales críticos. La intelectualidad indígena en América Latina”. Anales de la Universidad de Chile, Séptima serie, Nº 9, Santiago de Chile, pp. 89-102. 

2015. Zapata, Claudia and  Lucía Stecher. “Representación y memoria en escrituras indígenas y afrodescendientes contemporáneas”. Revista Casa de las Américas, Nº 280, La Habana, julio-septiembre, pp. 3-20. 


Research project as CALAS fellow

Title: Confronting deep colonialism in Latin America: current scenes of indigenous anti-colonialism

Abstract: Indigenous movements have been a fundamental actor in Latin American politics since the second half of the 20th century. The result of this role is the recognition policies, constitutional reforms (and even new constitutions), which since the 90s meant the configuration of a multicultural moment in which the flags of cultural diversity are raised from the State. In parallel, investment projects that overwhelm indigenous communities continue (violence against these peoples and the criminalization of their struggles grows, social inequality and racism are reproduced). In this highly conflictive scenario, the multicultural narrative is depleted, which is being harshly questioned by organized segments of indigenous peoples, including intellectuals and activists who distance themselves from the recognition that was generated from the 90s. The fundamental argument of these critical positions is that multiculturalism constitutes a new hegemony in which deep colonialism is reformulated while discussing with those indigenous leaders who saw in these policies a way to combat it.

In this stay project I propose to investigate current scenes of indigenous anti-colonialism, marked by a) a return to the political paradigm that linked colonialism with capitalism and that, therefore, defines resistance as anti-colonial and anti-capitalist, and b) a critique of the long-standing colonial narratives that are portrayed through inferior stereotypes that multiculturalism has not hesitated to use. I will focus on a part of the indigenous intelligentsia, especially those who lucidly question these colonial images and their complicity with the social, economic, and cultural exploitation of their peoples: some Mapuche intellectual authors from Chile, Aymara from Bolivia and, with special attention, in the incipient indigenous feminisms, especially in Guatemala and Bolivia.