Christine Folch, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Anthropology
On Faculty since 2012

Office: Blanchard 277
Phone: (630)752-5057


Ph.D., Anthropology, City University of New York, New York, 2012
Dissertation: The Flows of Sovereignty: Itaipú Hydroelectric Dam and the Ethnography of the Paraguayan Nation-State.

B.A., History, Harvard College, 1998


I work on the politics of water and energy in Latin America, especially in Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil. Specifically, I'm interested in development  and local/global conflicts. I also research food, cuisine, and culture in Latin America with a focus on the Spanish Caribbean and on Yerba Mate in South America.

Professional Affiliations/Academic Service

American Anthropological Association, Member

  • American Friends of ZanaAfrica, Chairwoman 
  • Association of American Geographers, Member
  • CUNY Graduate Center Anthropology Faculty Review Board, Student Representative
  • Latin American Studies Association, Member
  • New York Public Library, Wertheim Study, Writer in Residence 2010

Publications and Presentations

Book Manuscript

In Preparation - Valuing Renewalble Energy: the Ethics of Power in South America

Journal Articles (Peer -reviewed)

2013 Surveillance and State Violence in Stroessner's Paraguay: Itaipú Hydroelectric Dam, Archive of Terror. American Anthropologist 115:1, 44-57.

2010 Stimulating Consumption: Yerba Mate Myths, Markets, and Meanings from Conquest to Present. Comparative Studies in Society and History 52:1. 6-36.

2008 Fine Dining: Race in Pre-Revolution Cuban Cookbooks. Latin American Research Review 43:2, 205-223.

Under Review

The Scandalously Good Business of State Debt: Electricity Creation Accounts and Itaipú Dam in Paraguay and Brazil.

The Nature of Sovereignty: Lessons of Struggle, Otherness, and Economics from Paraguay

Book Reviews

2012  Review of "Guerrilla Auditors: The Politics of Transparency in Neoliberal Paraguay." by Kregg Hetherington. Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology. 17:2, 377-380.

2012 "Seeing and the State in Argentina, Brazil, and Cuba." A review of "The Optic of the State: Visuality an Power in Argentina and Brazil" by Jens Andermann and "Hidden Powers of State in the Cuban Imagination" by Kenneth Routon. Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology. 17:1, 186-192.

2008 Review of  "The Curse of Nemur. In Search of the Art, Myth, and Ritual of the Ishir." by Ticio Escobar. Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 13:1, 225-228.

Other Publications

2012 A tale of Two Quintessential Argentine Beverages: wine and yeba mate. Slate.

2012 Trouble on the Triple Frontier. Foreign Affairs.

2010 An Intimate Chat with the Figurine's Kunle Afolayan and Ramsey Noah. MTV Iggy.

2010 Review of "The Figurine." MTV Iggy.

2001 Cinderella Redux: Seeking True Beauty with Latin America's Most Popular Soap Opera. Regeneration Quarterly (April).


2011 Managing Expectations: Spectacles of Corruption, Rituals of Patronage. Presented at "Managers of Things, or What do Managers Imagine Themselves to be Managing?" panel at the 110th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Montreal, November 15 - 20.

2011 Journeys of Empire: the Robertson brothers' Letters on Paraguay. Paper presented at "Truth, Authorship and Credibility in Travellers' Narratives" panel at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Seattle, April 12 - 16.

2010 Paraguayan Nation-State Making: The Power Plays of Recovering Hydroelectric Sovereignty. Paper presented at "The State: Fixity and Circulation" panel (co- organizer) at 109th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, New Orleans, November 17 - 21.

2010 The Stakes of a City: Ciudad del Este as Competing Territorial Strategies. Paper presented at "Sombras del Estado, Prácticas Cotidianas y Lo Urbano en el Cono Sur" session at XXIX International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association, Toronto, Canada, October 6 - 9.

2009 El Estado Paraguayo Opaco: la Corrupción y la Transparencia. Paper presented at VIII Reunión de Antropología del Mercosur, Buenos Aires, Argentina, September 28 - October 2.

2009 Tentaciones Hidroeléctricas y los Juegos del Poder: Interpretando el Estado Paraguayo en el Marco de Itaipú, como Frontera Binacional. Paper presented at VIII Reunión de Antropología del Mercosur, Buenos Aires, Argentina, September 28 - October 2.

2008 Stimulating Consumption: Myth, Market, and Meaning in Yerba Mate. Paper presented at Works in Progress in Latin American Society and History, New York University, New York, March 31.

2007 Fine Dining: Race in Pre-Revolution Cuban Cookbooks. Paper presented at Rethinking Boundaries: Transformations in Methods and Approaches to Atlantic History, New York University, New York, February.

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