On Feb 4 Julian S. Yates will be giving a talk about his doctoral research at the IRES seminar series, from 12:30 to 1:30 in the Aquatic Ecosystems Research Lab Building at UBC. His talk is titled “Between metaphor and practice: environmental governance and the decolonial option in the Peruvian Andes”.
Abstract: In this presentation I engage with debates on decolonizing structures of education and environmental governance. In the Peruvian Andes, government and non-government ‘technical extension’ programmes are designed to improve environmental management practices and enhance production techniques in rural communities. Increasingly at the centre of these programmes is a network of kamayoq: Indigenous, peer-to-peer practical educators engaged in projects of farmer-to-farmer knowledge extension on issues such as irrigation, animal husbandry, crop cultivation, etc. With kamayoq practices originating in pre-Hispanic Andean societies, the kamayoq farmer-to-farmer model has been cast as a “culturally appropriate” means to overcoming top-down and Western forms of technical training. However, kamayoq are increasingly being incorporated within the national development programmes of the Peruvian state, which assess kamayoq knowledge according to fixed indicators in order to incorporate this knowledge within a broader environmental governance framework focussed on enhancing rural productivity. I explore this state programme of certification, positioning the kamayoq in between two arguments. The first argument stresses that decolonial discourse cannot simply be grafted onto existing discourses and institutional structures, such as technical extension programmes. The second argument – voiced by Indigenous activists in the Andes – revolves around the Andean notion that (decolonizing) knowledge is practice. In this sense, reorganizing adult environmental education and training around the forms of learning-by-doing that kamayoq embody is decolonizing environmental governance frameworks.