Pachakuti, an Indigenous Perspective on Collapse and Extinction


  • Jasmin Belmar Shagulian Umeå University



Pachakuti, figurative structuralism, ecocriticism, collapse and extinction, indigenous narrative


This work aims to examine pachakuti as the patent mytheme found in three poems written by different indigenous poets: “Todo está dicho” (“Everything has been said”) by Fredy Chakangana, “La Tórtola, pájaro melancólico” (“The turtledove, melancholic bird”) by Lorenzo Ayllapán, and “Vivir-Morir” (“To live-to die”) by Vito Apüshana. Pachakuti is a key concept in Andean literature, both in mythological and cosmological tales, and in contemporary indigenous narrative. Pachakuti is interpreted to symbolize a re-balancing of the world through a chaotic chain of events that manifests itself as a catastrophe or an upheaval of the order of things. As pachakuti becomes a recurrent motif (patent mytheme) in the chosen poems, it is explored to show a different narrative perspective of collapse and extinction, as well as to expose how earth-beings (latent mytheme) acquire their own agency in the poems and denounce modern forms of extractivism (such as deforestation and water contamination). Through the earth-beings’ voices the poems contribute to reveal new perspectives about collapse and extinction anchored in indigenous narratives from the Global South.


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Author Biography

Jasmin Belmar Shagulian, Umeå University

Jasmin Belmar Shagulian is a lecturer in Spanish at Umeå University and Luleå University in Sweden. She has previously been a Postdoctoral researcher at Stockholm University with an investigation focused on indigenous literatures of Abya Yala (Latin America) from both an ecocritical as well as symbolical perspective. Currently, her research is centred in the role of literature in second language acquisition.






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