Dr Alejandro Reig

Alejandro Reig

Research Associate

Alejandro Reig (DPhil 2014, MPhil 2006, University of Oxford,) is a Research Associate in the School of Anthropology. He has carried out research in the Venezuelan Amazon since the early 1990’s, engaged with several Venezuelan institutions, as the National Science Museum, the Centre for Tropical Health Research CAICET and Fundación La Salle de Ciencias Naturales. His doctoral research in Yanomami landscape and place-making was undertaken between 2007 and 2011 in the Upper Ocamo basin of the Venezuelan Amazonas State, as part of a CAICET project on river blindness in the Amazon region, while supporting the work of a Yanomami Community Health Agent.

His research interests include Spatial Anthropology, Indigenous conceptualizations of Nature, Yanomami Language and Culture, Anthropology of Lowland South America, Anthropology of Health and Political Ecology. He has published on issues of Venezuelan regional cultural identities, the exploration of the Venezuelan Guayana and Amazon Region; the National Parks System; Yanomami space, education and health. He has conceptualised several exhibitions on environmental issues in Venezuela and worked as an international museum consultant in Colombia. He has collaborated with treatment programs and the design of culturally sensitive models of indigenous health attention; has undertaken editorial work on indigenous language publications, directed community conservation educational projects and produced a number of videos on indigenous health and culture. He also collaborates with two NGOS working on socio-environmental issues in the Venezuelan Amazon region.

His doctoral thesis explored place and landscape-making among the Shitari Yanomami under the guidance of Dr Laura Rival and was supported by a Porticus Foundation Grant via the Wataniba socio-environmental affairs workgroup. This work contributes to anthropological debates on Amazonian place-making, movement and identity by focusing on a society which, far from privileging the spatial appropriation of ancestral landscapes, emphasizes mobility and periodic re-settling. His current research advances along two major complementary lines: one on transformations in indigenous territoriality and state governmentality in the Amazon region; and a second one on indigenous place-making and landscape management.

In the first line of research, he is working on a project on the dynamics of transformation and revalorization of the environment by the Upper Orinoco Yanomami in the current conjuncture of state expansionism and friction with local and global extractivism. This project aims to create a comparative platform for discussion and exchange on topics of indigenous Amazonian contestation and reformulation of development policies and livelihoods, and is engaged with the most recent work of Dr. Laura Rival on Huaroani transformations. Regarding the second line, he is designing a research project on the relationship between transformations in Yanomami patterns of sociality following increased relations with outsiders, as expressed in changes in the spheres of village morphology, gardening and foraging. This enquiry on the creation and transformation of Amazonian domesticity and its manifestations in residential place-making, livelihood strategies and the socialization of the forest is linked with Dr. Elizabeth Ewart´s work on Amazonian sociality and space, as well as with Dr. Rival´s research on Amazonian productive landscapes.

Selected publications 

Landscapes of Desire and Tobacco Circulation in the Yanomami Ethos', in Russell A. & Rahman, E. (eds.) The Master Plant. Tobacco in Lowland South America. Bloomsbury Academic, 2015.

(forthcoming) Migrantes, Ediciones Ekaré, Barcelona. In co-authorship with Roger Norum.

(forthcoming) “Health Agents in the mi(d)st: Yanomami agency and the struggle for well-being”.

(forthcoming) "Malaria elusive: hiking reflections on medical attention to the Upper Orinoco Yanomami" in Freire, G. Zent, Perspectives in Indigenous Health, proposed to University of Arizona Press.

(in preparation) “Yanomami wellbeing, perceived and expressed health at the crossroads of different regimes of meaning”.

"Guayana: un territorio tomado por imágenes, luces y sombras”, in Weidmann, Karl, Pasión por el Sur, Oscar Todtmann Editores, Caracas 2011.

“Vivencia de las identidades regionales, etnicidad y espacio cultural”, Geo VenezuelaVolume 8, Geografía Cultural (chapter of Encyclopaedia of Venezuelan Geography) Pedro Cunill Grau, editor, Fundación Polar, Caracas, 2010.

“The Orinoco headwaters expedition as a turning point in the development of external territorializations of the Venezuelan Amazon”. Cambridge Anthropology, 26 (2) 2006-2007 Cambridge, UK, pp 57-68.


List of site pages