writings, autobiography, shamanism, Christianity, Ecuador, Shuar, Jivaro


Inspired by Stephen Hugh-Jones’s suggestion of a fit between Tukanoan writing genres and their sociocultural systems, in this article we explore Shuar autobiographical writings in light of Chicham (Jivaroan) individualism. By exploring first-person—nonpatrimonial—texts that have received much less attention in the regional literature, the article contributes to theorizing a different way of transmitting tradition:one focused on individual praxis rather than on collective patrimony. Through the analysis of three autobiographical texts, we show how their authors appropriate writing to construct singularity, or distinct “paths of individuation”: the personal story of resistance of a school teacher, the exemplary life course of a visionary leader, and the claim to sainthood of an exceptional shaman.