ABD Columbia University
MA 2009 Columbia University
BA 2005 Wesleyan University
Areas of Research/Interest:
Peasant resistance movements, Andean messianism, shamanism, animism, histories of magic and the imagination, hysteria, intimacy/obscenity, sacred sociology, avant-garde art and ethnographic film; Peru, Latin America
Understanding Culture, Cultural Anthropology
Christopher Santiago is a sociocultural anthropologist currently finishing his Ph.D. at Columbia University. Drawing on years of fieldwork in Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru, his work asks how was magic separated from the history of the West? How has the imagination been dominated and domesticated? How does this give rise to different temporalities of hysteria? What is the potential of cultural forms widely considered false, fictitious, and counter to truth? Such questions have led him to diverse but ultimately connected points: for example, deep engagement with the ideas of renaissance magician Giordano Bruno, as well as the filmmaker, anthologist, and anthropologist Harry Smith. Santiago's dissertation "¡Conga No Va Carajo!" concerns peasant resistance to transnational mega-gold mines in Cajamarca, Peru, where he argues that "experience itself is an act of revolt". He is interested in theory and praxis of cultural resistance in the form of songs, stories, jokes and dreams, as well as direct political actions in the face of state-corporate repression and environmental end-times. This resistance movement in Peru is founded on peasant experience, now mobilized as a powerful spiritual weapon. Facing the death of the Earth, the resurgence of Pacha Mama consciousness in South America becomes a contemporary manifestation of Andean messianism, one that builds on older narratives of Inca and Andean gods whose return casts out the Spanish and redeems history. Santiago's dissertation asks: "In our age of global meltdown, what is the dreamweapon that would allow the voices of Nature to speak once again?"
Santiago, Christopher. "The Lady of the Blue Lagoon," Perfect Wave Magazine, Vol. 4. Jan. 2017. pp. 102-119.
Title: Adjunct Lecturer of Anthropology
Department: Department of Anthropology
Email address: Email me
Phone: (828) 262-6381
Fax: (828) 262-2982