S22 GGI has ended
Residency Theme: "The Wild, The Unwanted, The Unseen"

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Saturday, February 5 • 4:00pm - 4:45pm
GRADUATING STUDENT PRESENTATION: Ichachu: Ontological Pluralism for Cross-Cultural Eco-Social Action

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If I wanted to describe to someone the meaning of Ichachu, I might say that it is a Quechua word meaning “may be, perhaps, could be.” In the spirit of the word, I would not say “This is what it means,” but, rather, “It means something like this.” Translations between languages are always also translations from one system of knowledge to another. I would like to explore with my audience how language functions in multiple, overlapping cultural and ontological registers, and how these dynamics affect its ability to motivate and coalesce diverse human populations. Through the lens of sovereignty in general, and food sovereignty in particular, we will consider how discourse is shaped in the context of particular ways of knowing. We explore the implications of this framework in the ongoing struggles of Indigenous peoples to be recognized as equal holders of both rights and knowledge. Grounding our discussion will be perspectives from critical Indigenous studies suggesting the obstacles encountered when Indigenous and non-Indigenous stakeholders convene around issues of “resources,” climate change mitigation, and conservation. We then consider how challenges to equitable, actionable cross-cultural planning are rooted in fundamental ontological differences. Successfully enacting co-design projects with Indigenous participants calls for taking traditional ontologies seriously, not as metaphoric understandings, but as encoding multiple and diverse natures. Finally, we explore the fundamental role of epistemic humility in forming diverse cultural alliances for eco-social action. By evoking ichachu—and all its cross-linguistic counterparts—space is made for multi-cultural participants to convene into communities of practice working towards common futures of biocultural resilience.


Kaliana Conesa

Graduating Student, Goddard College

Saturday February 5, 2022 4:00pm - 4:45pm EST

Attendees (8)