Catherine Allen

Headshot of Catherine Allen

Catherine Allen

Professor Emerita of Anthropology and International Affairs

Emeriti Faculty


Dr. Allen is a sociocultural anthropologist interested in expressive culture and performance. She specializes in ethnography and ethnohistory of Andean societies, and also experiments with modes of ethnographic writing and other modes of ethnographic representation.

Symbolism; ritual; social organization; aesthetics; oral narrative; drama. Regional focus: Andean South America.

Visiting Research Fellow, January – March 2015, Sainsbury Research Unit for the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, University of East Anglia.

Ph.D. 1978, University of Illinois
M.A. 1972, University of Illinois
B.A. 1969, St. John's College (Maryland)


2011  Allen, C.J. Foxboy: Intimacy and Aesthetics in Andean Stories. Austin: University of Texas Press.

2004  Steele, Paul R., and Catherine J. Allen. Handbook of Inca Mythology. Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio, Inc.

2002  Allen, C.J. The Hold Life Has: Coca and Cultural Identity in an Andean Community. Second edition, revised and expanded. First edition 1988. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press. [Translated into Spanish as La Coca Sabe: coca e identidad cultural en una comunidad andina. Cusco: CBC Press, 2008.]

1996  Allen, C.J., and N. Garner. Condor Qatay: Anthropology in Performance. An ethnographic drama with introduction, ethnographic notes and comments, photographs and Quechua glossary. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.

Selected Articles and Book Chapters

[2014]  Allen, C.J. "The sadness of jars: Separation and rectification in Andean understandings of death." In James Fitzimmons and Izumi Shimada, eds. Living with the Dead in the Andes. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. (Forthcoming)

2009  Allen, C.J. "Let's drink together, my dear: Persistent ceremonies in a changing community." In J. Jennings and B. Bowser, eds., Drink, Power and Society in the Andes. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida.

2002  Allen, C.J. "The Incas have gone inside: Pattern and persistence in Andean iconography," RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics 42: 180-203.

1998  Allen, C.J. "When objects revolt: Mind, matter and communication in the Precolumbian Andes." RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics 33 (Spring).