Katie Zapel

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  • Anthropology Ph.D. Candidate
  • Anthropology
  • Gender and Women's Studies
  • Other Affiliations:
Research Interests:

B.A. in Human Relations, University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, 2012


Kaitlin (Katie) Zapel is a native of Bradford, Pennsylvania. She obtained her B.A. in Human Relations, with minors in Anthropology, Spanish, and International Studies, from the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford in 2012. During the summer of 2009, she conducted research in Ecuador with Dr. Michael Stuckart, focusing on how religious activities affect the economy among the Otavalo people.  Katie studied abroad in Costa Rica during the summer of 2010. She is currently working toward her doctoral degree in Anthropology from the University of Kentucky.


My research interests include gender roles and craft production as part of cottage-style economies among the Otavaleños, an indigenous group of weavers in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador. In this region, households function as units of production, with tasks broken down along gender lines. Typically, women are considered secondary workers and do not weave the textiles that make Otavalans famous; however, they are generally responsible for selling these textiles in the market, since sales are considered to be social interactions. Increasingly, young, married women are traveling abroad with their husbands because of their supposed talents at making sales. Thus, women’s roles and the value of their market knowledge are of particular interest. Much has been written about gender in the Andes, specifically analyzing the presentation of indigeneity among women. In short, I am interested in the gendering of tasks, especially how women’s roles are determined, and the political economy of crafts. My research takes an economic anthropology approach to look at the marketing of identity.

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