2021 Virtual Conference of the Society of Ethnobiology, May 12–14, 2021
2021 Session Submissions
The workshop team foresees the Conference of the Society of Ethnobiology as the perfect platform to bring discussion on how to go beyond the recommendations mentioned in the academic study to implementation particularly while discussing local ecological knowledge (e.g. LEK and water&food security). Several examples exist where researchers propose future research and/or propose the need for developing actions. Thus this workshop aims to serve as a peer-to-peer learning and working ground where participants bring their study and share success stories/strategies used on how their academic advice was brought into policy/action/art and/or list challenges experienced and/or requests advice from the peers on the steps to be taken.
The workshop will use the approach of Science Cafe and CLIPS tools with emphasis on open discussion. Prior to the workshop the participants will be requested to propose academic studies they would like to be discussed during the workshop. The discussion of the workshop will be compiled in a report with a potential for publishing.
Despite the absence of truly agricultural societies in most of pre-Contact Western North America, ethnobotanical research in the area has yielded a bounty of information on the ways Native inhabitants have managed certain plants in the past and continue to do so at present. This symposium features a series of ongoing projects centering on the archaeological and ethnographic evidence for the manipulation and consumption of specific vegetative resources. Our speakers address topics such as traditional foods and medicine, the smoking of tobacco and non-tobacco products, and the spread of caffeinated beverages in the Americas. Access to materials under study was made possible by collaborative research schemes involving tribal partners such as the Muwekma Ohlone of California, the Coquille of Oregon, and the Kalispel of Washington. Through the active exchange of data, ideas, and perceptions, study partners can move beyond academic pursuits and discuss implications in the realm of public health, cultural and ecological stewardship.
The fields that feed ethnobiology - botany, zoology, anthropology, archaeology, history - were founded on imperial objectives and practices. One of the principles of the Society of Ethnobiology is to "move toward an ethnobiology which prioritizes (1) power equity, (2) receptiveness to diverse ways of knowing, and (3) social justice," (Armstong and McAlvay, SoE website).
In this session, participants will workshop ideas on how to further decolonize our principles and practices - including building this component of our web presence. This could include: proposing educational modules for recognizing and combatting imperialist science; plans to build an ethics toolkit for decolonizing practice in ethnobiology; and/or guidelines for decolonizing protocols for use in grant applications. Ultimately, our efforts will help move forward "Our purpose ... to reduce any erasure of our colonial past while engaging with the tools and methods in relationship-building and decolonizing academia," (Armstrong and McAlvay).
The Ethnobiology Ethics Lab seeks input from members concerning issues of ethical theory and practice in the disciplines and in the Society. Operated in open house format, members of the Ethics and Advocacy committee will moderate discussion, record participants' contributions, and make a plan to move issues forward in committee work during the year.
This two-part session highlights a range of contemporary ethnobiological research in Mexico. The studies presented include: descriptions of plant and landscape usage, the significance of cultural knowledge for conservation, and the economic dimensions of natural resource exploitation. The session will feature some papers in Spanish and some in English.
The Barda Sanctuary from a compact block of about 192.31 sq. kms lying between parallels of latitude 21° 40’ to 21° 55’ North and meridian of longitude 69° 40’ to 69° 50’ East. The tribe (maldharies) inhabiting this region is mostly Rabaris. They live in small settlements and their economy is based mostly upon animal husbandry. In present study, 37 plant species used by the Maldharies of Barda Sanctuary for their lives, for general diseases (28 species) and for other diseases (9 species). They use only rainwater and it’s essential for medicine plant preservation as well their life. They developed water storage instruments from their surrounding nature specially from plants.
What makes some birds edible and others inedible? What determines which birds are hunted or domesticated? Hunting birds is not a simple matter of finding and killing them. Many cultures have rules for preparing to hunt that involve abstinence, fasting, and ceremonies. Domestic birds are also connected with ceremonies to enhance the flock or protect the birds. Ceremonies demonstrate reciprocal obligations between birds and humans. What are the rules for sharing? What overlap is there between edible and medicinal birds? What of wild birds that are captured and then raised for food? The papers in this session explore these and other aspects of relationships with birds that are killed and eaten, and the obligations and responsibilities associated with hunting and raising birds for food. These include turkeys, ducks, chickens, grouse, and parrots.
Guardians of the Forest is a documentary film that tells the inspiring story of the Maijuna Indigenous group of the Peruvian Amazon as they fight for their biologically rich ancestral lands and cultural survival. The Maijuna culture is sustained and nourished by their heavily forested ancestral territory, which is increasingly threatened by outsiders. After introducing and screening the film, this session will culminate in a question-and-answer session with the producer and director. This documentary film will be of broad interest to conference attendees as it touches on Indigenous rights and lifeways, community empowerment, biocultural conservation, and environmental justice, among other critical topics.
Guardians of the Forest Trailer: https://vimeo.com/481911459
Cycads (order Cycadales), around 350 extant species of palm-like gymnosperms, are the most endangered group of biota on the planet. Despite containing high levels of toxins, they are used worldwide by local and Indigenous people for ceremonies and diets. In these roles, they often take on extraordinary significance as markers of power and prestige, and are frequently associated with the transitional realm between life and afterlife. Papers in this session examine the ethnobiology of cycads in a diverse array of contexts.
Climate change is one of the greatest current challenges for humankind. Impacts of climate change in multiple dimensions of socio-ecological systems are increasingly acknowledged, and are expected to intensify in the future. Due to their close interaction with nature and historical marginalization, Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLC) are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. On the other hand, it is also through their long-term and intimate interaction with the environment that IPLC developed their rich local ecological knowledge, which enables them to recognize, interpret and react to a changing climate and its consequences.
In this session, we will share recent advances in interdisciplinary research conducted in different regions of the globe addressing multiple dimensions of the relationships between IPLC and climate change. Particularly, we aim to advance our understanding of how lPLC perceive climate change, its drivers and its impacts on local livelihoods, what are the adaptations that are put in practice to mitigate climate change impacts, and how local ecological knowledge can be mobilized and articulated to promote resilient and healthy socio-ecological systems under a changing climate.
The language of mapping “resources” often involves monetizing what is biological and cultural patrimony. This monetary orientation influences how maps are constructed, what is represented, and how maps are used. Within an oral tradition, maps are created through story and song as well as visual representations, in contrast to literary traditions. This change in constructing maps means that control over information changes, for what was once local knowledge transmitted orally then becomes accessible to outsiders with no personal and spiritual connection to place. Under these new circumstances, land, water, minerals, forests, wildlife, and ceremonial sites take on different meanings. What are the local meanings of maps? When maps are created by outsiders the purpose varies according to whether this is this done in consultation with local communities, or initiated by local communities for documenting land claims and protecting sovereignty. New technologies have raised issues around the implications of drones, satellites, and restrictions at international borders. In these new contexts, what protections can be employed by local communities to secure the information that is gathered and control both access and distribution?
Ethnobiology is a transdisciplinary field that brings together the knowledge of diverse actors from Indigenous and local communities to natural and social sciences. While this diversity of knowledge is crucial for engaging with socio-environmental change, it also raises complex questions about conflicting epistemologies, ontologies, and values. Philosophy of science has become increasingly concerned with ethnobiological research (Byskov 2020, Kendig 2020, Ludwig and El Hani 2020, Villagómez-Reséndiz 2020, Weiskopf 2020) in addressing issues such as knowledge diversity in biology, the prospects of knowledge integration, and the entanglement of taxonomies and values. The aim of this session is to take this “new philosophy of ethnobiology” back into the ethnobiology community to discuss its potential contributions to methodological and theoretical debates of the field. In particular, the talks will focus on interdisciplinary negotiation of ethnobiological research methods, the structure of dialogues between heterogeneous actors, and the relations between naming practices and taxonomies beyond a simple dichotomy of universalism vs. relativism.
Ludwig: The new philosophy of ethnobiology - what’s in it for ethnobiologists?
Nieves Delgado: From epistemic pluralism to interdisciplinary work in ethnobiology
Bollettin: “Ethno” and “Biology": Anthropological notes on multiple dialogues in knowledge practices
El Hani: Learning from dialoguing with and integrating Indigenous/peasant and academic knowledge systems
Renck: Applying partial overlaps in ethnobiological studies in a Brazilian fishing community
Kendig: Philosophy of ethnolichenological naming practices
This session will be centered around tribal people in the southwest and their views of ethnobotany and how the connection to plants solidifies the cultural connection to mother earth as well as traditional beliefs. Topics covered can be plant uses be it medicinal, mechanical, and edible varieties, traditional language about plants, astronomy connections to plant life and cultural beliefs centered around plant life such as songs and dances. This session will invite attendees to learn about these views from Native people of the southwest and those that work closely with the tribes in the areas of ethnobotany, anthropology, and archeology.This session will be centered around tribal people in the southwest and their views of ethnobotany and how the connection to plants solidifies the cultural connection to mother earth as well as traditional beliefs. Topics covered can be plant uses be it medicinal, mechanical, and edible varieties, traditional language about plants, astronomy connections to plant life and cultural beliefs centered around plant life such as songs and dances. This session will invite attendees to learn about these views from Native people of the southwest and those that work closely with the tribes in the areas of ethnobotany, anthropology, and archeology.
The Society for Economic Botany (SEB) recently formed a new subcommittee to address issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion (defined broadly). In our first meetings, we discussed the need to value and prioritize all kinds of diversity; recognize persistent colonial structures and systemic racism; uplift voices of those who have been sidelined, ignored and oppressed; and work proactively in service of social justice within our society and society-at-large. As our committee embarks on a process of recognition, reparation, and transformation, we are looking to partner with sister societies like SoE and ISE to help us identify and address these issues through our organizations and disciplines. The goals of this roundtable will be to listen and learn from each other’s experiences, to shape our missions and to identify specific actions to address these challenges. We hope to engage the SoE and ISE ethics committees to consider what we can achieve as a collective and that members of all three societies will contribute to this discussion. One possible outcome to explore is the feasibility of forming an intersocietal working group and platform.
Struggles over water are increasing as water becomes more scarce or floods, is more contaminated and commodified. Water defenders and water protectors speak of water as vital for survival, and in many cultures water is understood as a living being and/or spirit. Recently legal scholars have been called upon to join in defending water by defining bodies of water like lakes in terms of “personhood,” arguing that if corporations can be defined as legal persons, then a river or a spring can be also. These presentations describe the meaning and status of water in relation to cultural perspectives that call upon the reclamation of liquid traditions in safeguarding water, the land, and communities in relation to colonization, sovereignty, treaty rights, and mapping of bodies of water on the land and also along coastlines, out at sea, and under or in the sky.