On Tuesday 6 July, our group was excited because we were finally able to organize the panel at EADI ISS Conference that had been postponed for one year due to coronavirus pandemic. The idea of the panel was at first connected to the forthcoming special issue for the journal Globalizations. Therefore, the panel was included in the category of “harvesting”, meaning that the presentations were on researches at their “mature” stage. The discussion was then based on the drafts the participants had sent beforehand. We had two sessions with nine presentations that looked at pluriversal educational alternatives and critical intercultural education from different perspectives and in different regional and cultural contexts.
The text is an excerpt from the paper that Ruth Arias (UEA) has presented at the Conference.
In her presentation at the EADI ISS Conference 2021 – Solidarity, Peace and Social Justice, Ruth Arias from the Universidad Estatal Amazonica (UEA) has spoken of the necessity of interculturality as a central axis of the Pluricultural State. However, interculturality is a challenge in Ecuador, and especially in higher education. Indigenous and Afro-descendant students access and complete their studies in alarmingly inequitable conditions (Mato, 2008). Policies to modify monocultural higher education need to address structural problems of the population they are intended to serve (Cuji, 2012). This aspect is not only related to the education sector, but is overall political.
The talk started with a video self-produced by Mariana Canelos (Student of Communication), Indira Vargas (Tourism Engineering graduate), Dixon Andi (Environmental Engineer, Laboratorio de plantas) and edited by Mario Rodríguez Dávila y Diego Lucero Rivas. The three UEA students and graduates, from the kichwa nationality, have presented their point of view on interculturality in higher education.
Compiled texts from authors’ presentations and abstracts.
Our research group participated in the 6th joint Nordic Development Research Conference, held online from 21 to 22 of June, by the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. The conference is organized jointly by the Finnish Society for Development Research, the Danish Association of Development Researchers in Denmark, the Norwegian Association For Development Research, and the Swedish Development Research Network., usually attracting development researchers and policy-makers from Nordic countries and research collaborators from the global South. This year’s theme: Development, Learning and Education: Post-pandemic Considerations, invited participants to reflect on development, learning and education and how pressing global crises, as climate change and COVID-19, intensified pressures for radical transformations that challenge conceptualizations of “learning” as well as “unlearning” in development.
Text: Riikka Kaukonen Lindholm
In the turn of May and June, the research group members took part in the II International Scientific Convention by the Amazonian State University (Universidad Estatal Amazónica, UEA) organized online. With opening speech given by the rector David Sancho, the conference provided a platform for scientific conversations around three different topics: Plurinationality, Ancestral Knowledge and Knowledge Management; Urban Tourism, Heritage and Territorial Development; Environmental Management and Conservation of Biodiversity, that represent important areas of study for the UEA that develops research and higher education in the Amazon region of Ecuador. Our research group contributed to the part of the conference programme focused around the topic of Plurinationality, Ancestral Knowledge and Knowledge Management coordinated by the rector Oliver Meric.
During the year 2019, fieldwork and data collection were the main activities of the project. The project team met during three periods of fieldwork in Ecuador. In January, Paola Minoia and Andrés Tapia interviewed and discussed with key actors, including professionals and experts in education, ancestral knowledges, decoloniality and interculturality, as well as with Indigenous leaders and representatives of NGOs, in Quito and Pastaza. In March-June and September-October, Tuija Veintie, Johanna Hohenthal, Andrés Tapia, Katy Machoa, Tito Madrid and students of the UEA visited the IBE upper secondary schools in Pastaza and interviewed directors, teachers, students and parents. Three schools were selected for more comprehensive field study: UEIB “Camilo Huatatoca” in Santa Clara, UEIB “Sarayaku” and UEIB “Kumay”. In these schools, we conducted a higher number of in-depth interviews with teachers and students, questionnaire surveys, classroom observation, as well as participatory mapping and photography with the students.
We cordially invite contributions to our panel at EADI ISS Conference 2020: Solidarity, Peace and Social Justice held in the Hague, Netherlands, 29 June – 2 July 2020.
The comprehensive development project manifested in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) proposes through the SDG4 an overall engagement on “quality education for all”. It endeavors to support social justice by promoting equal access to education for the most deprived groups. However, the SDG4 does not acknowledge the existing epistemic diversity around the world and the need to support alternative ways to learn and produce knowledge. Neither does it contain any reference to the UN declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples of 2007. Thus, Indigenous perspectives, knowledges and alternative forms of education remain marginalized. To promote global social and epistemic justice, education should include equal representation of diverse epistemologies, knowledges and educational practices. Without comprehensive understanding of epistemic pluralism, interculturality and hegemonies of power within the society, well-meaning educational programs may end up reproducing models of neoliberal multiculturalism and ideas of primitive otherness, and fail to promote equal relations among existing cultures. Instead, a radical project on intercultural education should reflect the principles of relationality between lands, beings and knowledges (Walsh 2018) linked to the distinctive territorial and ecological realities and sustaining transformation projects to reverse structural injustices.
This session is organised by members of EADI Working Group on “Post- and Decolonial Perspectives on Development and welcomes papers that discuss pluriversal educational alternatives in diverse contexts. We particularly welcome contributions from young scholars and participants from the Global South and/or with Indigenous background. Abstracts of 500-600 words including key literature, theoretical and methodological approaches and keywords should be submitted by 15 December. Authors of accepted abstracts should send draft papers by March 2020. Full papers are circulated within the presenters and organizers before the conference. After the conference, the organizers invite the authors to submit their revised manuscript for possible publication in an upcoming special issue in an international journal.
Looking forward to receiving your abstracts! Please follow the instructions here.
Organizers: Paola Minoia, Johanna Hohenthal and Tuija Veintie, Development Studies, University of Helsinki
Text and photograph by Tuija Veintie
At the end of March our Helsinki based research group members participated in Development Days 2019, the annual conference organized by the Finnish Society for Development Research. This year the conference theme “Repositioning global development: changing actors, geographies and ontologies” invited the conference participants to critically examine and redefine the meanings of development, and discuss alternatives to the dominant discourses on development.
In his keynote lecture Ashish Kothari presented examples of alternatives from around the world, including self-governance initiatives, economic transformations and different educational initiatives that are rooted in local cultures and ecologies. He urged the audience to examine the structural roots of sustainability and inequity, and vision alternative futures from the grassroots up.
Text by Johanna Hohenthal
This autumn the project members participated in several conferences and seminars in the Nordic countries that all somehow addressed the themes of decoloniality, interculturality and diversity in academic research. First, on 15-18 August, the 4th Annual Conference of the World-Ecology Research Network (WERN) was held in Helsinki, Finland. The WERN has an important decolonial commitment focusing on the “critique of Nature/Society dualism as a cosmology and world-historical practice of domination”. In this year’s conference, the keynotes, panels and working groups discussed on topical issues related to expropriation, capitalocene, extractivism, and power relations in academic research. The second event was a two-day seminar “Doing diversity/interculturality/decoloniality in development research” organized by the Finnish development research doctoral network (UniPID DocNet) in Tvärminne, Finland, 27-28 September. The presentations and discussions in the seminar largely centered around the questions on how to decolonize and diversify thinking and practices in the academic teaching and research work. In the following week, 5-6 October, the reflection on these themes continued in the first workshop of the research network Decolonial critique, knowledge production and social change in the Nordic countries (DENOR) in Gothenburg, Sweden. As stated by the leader of the network, Adrián Groglopo, in his welcoming words, the decolonial initiative is especially important in the Nordic context, because the Nordic “race” has for long enjoyed its privileged position on the expense of other nations and even been put on the pedestal as a model that the others should follow. Finally, the 10th conference of the Nordic Latin American Research Network (NOLAN) was organized in Oslo, Norway, 25-26 October. The conference addressed important issues related to human and environmental rights and the state of democracy that have implications especially for the lives of indigenous and other minority groups in Latin America. The conference also had a number of interesting working group sessions on indigenous identity, environmental governance and education.
In this writing, I will briefly return to the key messages from the above meetings that are significant also for our project. See also the related forthcoming text written by Paola Minoia in Convivial Thinking. Continue reading “Greetings from the autumn conferences in the North: key messages on diversifying and decolonizing academic research”