Cuelenaere,”The Decolonization of Belief from a Native Perspective”

Laurence Cuelenaere (2016). “The Decolonization of Belief from a Native Perspective: Wak’as and Teología Andina in the Bolivian Highlands,” The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology. doi:10.1111/jlca.12254

Abstract: This article addresses two aporias in decolonizing discourses in Bolivia. The first is manifest in the irreducible distance between colonial and decolonial perspectives on creencias (beliefs) and the lived experience of the wak’as (deities, sacred objects, or shrines). The second resides in the contradictions Teología Andina (Andean theology) incurs in its claims to decolonize theology inasmuch as it calls for a sanitation of beliefs to make them acceptable to Christianity and as it defines practices for a neutralization of the fury of the wak’a. I explore these aporias on the basis of testimonies and conversations with intellectuals of Aymara extraction. The wide range of decolonizing discourses I touch on in this article convey contradictory positions analogous to the call for sanitation and neutralization by Teología Andina.