Cover for Wibbelsman: Ritual Encounters: Otavalan Modern and Mythic Community. Click for larger image
Ebook Information

Ritual Encounters

Otavalan Modern and Mythic Community

The mythic roots and modern future of Ecuadorian indigenous communities in the twenty-first century

This book examines ritual practices and public festivals in the Otavalo and Cotacachi areas of northern Andean Ecuador's Imbabura province. Otavaleņos are a unique group in that they maintain their traditional identity but also cultivate a cosmopolitanism through frequent international travel. Ritual Encounters explores the moral, mythic, and modern crossroads at which Otavaleņos stand, and how, at this junction, they come to define themselves as millennial people.

Michelle Wibbelsman shows that Otavaleņos are deeply engaged in transnational mobility and in the cultural transformations that have resulted from Otavalan participation in global markets, international consumer trends, and technological developments. Rituals have persisted among this ethnic community as important processes for symbolically capturing and critically assessing cultural changes in the face of modern influences. As religious expression, political commentary, transcendental communication, moral judgment, and transformative experience, Otavalan rituals constitute enduring practices that affirm ethnic identities, challenge dominant narratives, and take issue with power inequalities behind hegemony. Ritual Encounters thus offers an appreciation of the modern and mythic community as a single and emergent condition.

"An intelligent and welcome book."--Anthropology Review Database

"An important addition to the literature on Andean ethnography and the anthropology of ritual."--Latin American Music Review

"Ritual Encounters offers a richly textured reading of core Otavalan ritual performances and the cosmological discourse that sustains them."--Journal of Folklore Research

"When I first witnessed the powerful images, music, and hypnotic rhythms of the Otavalos' Inti Raymi dances, I yearned for an ethnographer's deep analysis. Michelle Wibbelsman's eloquent ethnography has set a new standard for the study of ritual in the Andes."--Robert E. Rhoades, author of Development with Identity, Community, Culture and Sustainability in the Andes

"An engaging study of diverse rituals that take place in indigenous communities in the northwestern highland region of Ecuador. Although previous ethnographic work conducted in the Otavalo area has examined ritual performances, none other focuses exclusively on ritual expression beyond a single community. Wibbelsman's work fills this gap in northern Andean ethnographic work."--Kathleen S. Fine-Dare, author of Grave Injustice: The American Indian Repatriation Movement and NAGPRA

Michelle Wibbelsman is a research fellow at the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, and an adjunct professor of anthropology at St. Edward's University.

To order online:

To order by phone:
(800) 621-2736 (USA/Canada)
(773) 702-7000 (International)

Related Titles

previous book next book
Street Life under a Roof

Youth Homelessness in South Africa

Emily Margaretten

Embodied Protests

Emotions and Women's Health in Bolivia

Maria Tapias

Victims and Warriors

Violence, History, and Memory in Amazonia

Casey High

The Street Is My Pulpit

Hip Hop and Christianity in Kenya

Mwenda Ntarangwi

The Study of Ethnomusicology

Thirty-Three Discussions

Bruno Nettl

Reinventing Chinese Tradition

The Cultural Politics of Late Socialism

Ka-ming Wu


Edited by J. Lawrence Witzleben


Blackness, Violence, and Performance in Brazil

Christen A. Smith

Cape Verde, Let's Go

Creole Rappers and Citizenship in Portugal

Derek Pardue

Scripts of Blackness

Race, Cultural Nationalism, and U.S. Colonialism in Puerto Rico

Isar P. Godreau

Women and Power in Zimbabwe

Promises of Feminism

Carolyn Martin Shaw

Journal for the Anthropological Study of Human Movement

Edited by Drid Williams and Brenda Farnell

Building Filipino Hawai‘i

Roderick N. Labrador

Feminist and Human Rights Struggles in Peru

Decolonizing Transitional Justice

Pascha Bueno-Hansen

Ritual Encounters ebook is available for immediate download from the following vendors:
Barnes & Noble
Google Play