Wesleyan portrait of Kellie  Cavagnaro

Kellie Cavagnaro

Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion


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PHD Vanderbilt University

Kellie Cavagnaro

Kellie Cavagnaro’s Fulbright, SSRC and Mellon-funded research examines ecology, mineral extraction and indigenous ritual and spiritual practices in the Lake Titicaca region of Peru from 2015 - 2023. Recent publications contextualize the relationship between South American indigenous media networks and Aymara and Quechua activism amid the ongoing Peruvian National Political Crisis. Her prior ethnographic fieldwork focused on Zapatista communities of the Highlands of Chiapas, Mexico and their engagement with Maya healers. From 2012- 2013, she documented rituals and indigenous and Zapatista sociopolitical understandings of the Changing of the Baktun, or Maya Long-Count Calendar, which took place on December 21, 2012.

Cavagnaro’s upcoming research persists at the interstices of ritual and ecology, interrogating the commonalities among diverse but cogently pro-social and pro-environmental lifeways. She offers this provocation: Under what circumstances do we successfully co-create a communitas that inspires us to self-regulate the ecologically destructive practices of our late-stage capitalism? Podcast co-hosts wanted.

Kellie Cavagnaro, Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, holds a dual Ph.D. in Anthropology and Comparative Media Analysis and Practice from Vanderbilt University. Her Master’s in Global Studies and Bachelor’s in Spanish are from Wake Forest University, where she has previously taught courses in ethnography and social analysis as Faculty in the Department of Anthropology. She has lived abroad and worked on issues of gender justice and indigenous resistance movements in Mexico, Costa Rica, Spain and Peru. She is an avid yogi and surfer, and newly obsessed with adaptogenic cacao elixirs. Come exchange notes!

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