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Nell Haynes

Visiting Assistant Professor

PhD American University 2013

Regional Focus:  South America (Andes)

Subfield(s):  Linguistic Anthropology, Cultural Anthropology

Interest(s):  Race, Gender, Indigeneity, Popular Culture

Office Location:  1810 Hinman, #206, Evanston, IL 60208

Research and teaching interests

Indigeneity; gender and sexuality; Critical Race Theory; popular culture; performance; media studies; art and aesthetics; political economy; globalization; migration; Latin America (Bolivia and Chile) 


Nell Haynes is a cultural and linguistic anthropologist who focuses on the changing nature of indigeneity within global systems of economics, politics, art, and popular culture. Haynes focuses on the ways in which "authentic indigeneity" shifts as forms of self expression and ways of identifying inevitably combine the local and the global. She approaches indigeneity, not as an essentialized subjectivity, but rather as an active form of identification that engages with phenomena including cosmopolitanism, digital media, performance, popular culture, and changing political economies-particularly as related to social inequalities and structural violence. 

Haynes recently published her book, Social Media in Northern Chile: Posting the Extraordinarily Ordinary, which explores how northern Chileans use social media and the consequences of this use in their daily lives. She argues that social media is a place where residents express their feelings of marginalization that result from living in an area far from the national capital and with a notoriously low quality of life compared to other urban areas in Chile. These indigenous, migrant, and working-class citizens express a new kind of social norm and strengthen their sense of community in online spaces. Haynes undertook this research as a post-doctoral fellow at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, in partnership with the Global Social Media Impact Study at University College London. As part of the Global Social Media Impact Study, she also co-authored the book How the World Changed Social Media. 

This research grew out of Haynes's doctoral work on indigenous women wrestlers in La Paz, Bolivia, in which she explored the articulation of indigeneity and gender in the popular culture form of lucha libre. Indigenous women are often both exoticized and positioned as symbols of the nation, yet in this context, notions of indigenous authenticity emerged as important points of conflict between wrestlers, audience members, and the public at large. Haynes is currently modifying this work into a book manuscript, tentatively titled Chola in a Choke Hold: Remaking Indigeneity through Bolivian Lucha Libre Wrestling. 

Recent publications

2016 Haynes, Nell. "Kiss with a fist: The chola’s humor and humiliation in Bolivian lucha libre," Journal of Language and Sexuality 5:2 (2016), 250–275.

2016 Haynes, Nell. Social Media in Northern Chile: Posting the Extraordinarily Ordinary. London: UCL Press.

2016 Miller, Daniel, Elisabetta Costa, Nell Haynes, Tom McDonald, Razvan Nicolescu, Jolynna Sinanan, Juliano Spyer, Shriram Venkantraman, and XinYuan Wang. How the World Changed Social Media. London: UCL Press. 

2015 Haynes, Nell. "UnBoliviable Bouts: Indigenismo and the Essentialisation of Bolivia’s Cholitas Luchadoras," Pp 267-283 in Global Perspectives on Women in Combat Sports, Alexander Channon and Christopher R. Matthews, eds. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

2013 Haynes, Nell. "Global Cholas: Reworking Tradition and Modernity in Bolivian Lucha Libre.” Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 18(3):432-446. Reprinted in 2014. Open Anthropology 2(2) Theme Issue, Sport: Pleasure and Violence, Competition and Sociality.

Courses taught at Northwestern

Anthropology of Social Media

Borderland Languages

Culture Through Language

Language and Sexuality

Other courses taught

Culture: The Human Experience

Sex, Gender, Culture

Urban Anthropology

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