Bret Gustafson

Political anthropologist. Mostly Bolivia and Latin America.
Indigenous language politics.  Energy politics.

Guarani Language and Territorial Rights in the Bolivian Chaco

My work in Bolivia, since around 1992, has focused on Indigenous movements and questions of language, territory, and rights. My book New Languages of the State: Indigenous Resurgence and the Politics of Knowledge in Bolivia (Duke, 2009) explored intersections between the Indigenous movement, bilingual education, and neoliberal reform. I continue to work with Guarani colleagues and write on Guarani language, history, and contemporary politics. This line of work involves dialogues across areas of linguistic anthropology and the anthropology of the state.

Fossil Fuels & Energy Politics

A second line of research in Bolivia emerged out of following the impact of natural gas development across Guarani lands. A forthcoming book, Bolivia in the Age of Gas (Duke 2020), traces territorial and political struggles over natural gas in Bolivia. This work brings me into dialogue with colleagues working on extractivism, fossil capital, and the anthropology of energy, the climate, and fossil fuels.

I am also on the editorial board of NACLA.

From time to time I also teach, write on, and engage with the politics of fossil fuels, Indigeneity, and education in the U.S.


Phone: 314-935-8630
Office: McMillan Hall 334
Office hours: Tuesday 2:00 – 4:00 pm

Washington University
CB 1114
One Brookings Drive
St.Louis, MO 63130-4899