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Arratia Maria-Ines

Maria-Ines Arratia

Research Associates
Department of Anthropology


Research & Supervisory Interests

Capacity-building for empowerment; community-based health and education; participatory methodologies.

My main research interest has been to elicit diverse epistemologies, which I have applied in the fields of adult capacity-building and formal education in indigenous communities in northern Chile and in community-based health activities in Malawi, Central Africa.

My research and action began in 1989 in the northern highlands of Chile, with Aymara communities.  Between 1995 and 2000 I resided in Arica, Chile and worked with the Aymara communities in the border district of General Lagos, focusing primarily on developing a culturally appropriate education program for the young.  I was also a contributing member in the Pachakuti program at the University of Tarapaca, that sought to legitimate urban spaces for the Aymara.  My work extended into a three-year consortium to build linkages between non-government organizations, universities and indigenous communities in the southern Andean region (Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina), to explore effective ways to provide community access to resources, enabling the reproduction of local knowledges.

Between 2002-2006 I was Research Manager for an HIV and AIDS project directed by Dr. D. Willms in Malawi, where we sought to strengthen the role of faith-based community organizations in facing the complex challenges of the pandemic.  In this case my role was to enable alliances and networks that would open spaces for discussion and sharing of information for community empowerment.


PhD York University, 1991


Courses (2009-2010)

1A03 - Introduction to Anthropology: Culture and Society
3RR3 - Sex, Gender and Inequalities
4I03 - Contemporary Anthropology Theory
4N03 - Anthropology and Education
1A03 - Introduction to Anthropology: Culture and Society (Term 2)
4I03 - Contemporary Anthropology Theory (Term 2)



2006 M. Arratia and D.G. Willms Monitoring and Evaluating an HIV/AIDS with Faith Communities in Malawi: A Mixed Methodology Case Study Contributing to Cross-cultural M&E Processes. MS under review by the Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation.

2005 M. Arratia, N. Mvula and D. Willms. Surveying Faith Communities in Malawi: A Baseline Behavioural Surveillance Study. On-line through:

2004 D.G. Willms, M. Arratia and P. Makondesa, Malawi Faith Communities Responding to HIV/AIDS: Preliminary Findings of a Knowledge Translation and Participatory-Action Research (PAR) Project. African Journal of AIDS Research (AJAR), Vol. 3 # 1, May 2004.


2003 Transforming an Assimilationist School into one with Relevance. A Pilot Project in Chile. (In Spanish with Abstract in English) Ocassional Papers Series # 4. World Learning. Alvino E.Fantino, Editor. Selected papers from the Hemispheric Conference on Indigenous Education in the Americas. Guatemala, February 2002. Pp. 51-64
2002 Book review of The Indian in Latin American History. Resistance, Resilience and Acculturation. Volume edited by John E. Kicza, revised edition. CALACS Journal, Vol. 27 # 53
2001 Book Review of Indigenous Mestizos: The Politics of Race and Culture in Cuzco, Peru, 1919-1991, by Marisol de la Cadena, 2000, Anthropologica. XLIV No 2, 2002

Works in Progress:

De-Indianizing Aymara Identity in Northern Chile: Constructing a New Indigenous Ethnicity in the Context of Global Changes.

Seeking Common Ground for Intercultural Education: Teacher participation and empowerment for emancipatory learning practices.