2019 Sessions

Avian Voices in Song, Story, Wisdom, and Warning

Session Organizer(s): 
Nicole Sault

While ornithologists examine birdcalls and songs within the context of ethology, ethno-ornithologists go beyond these observable behaviors to consider the relationship between birds and people in cultural context. This includes creation stories with avian heroes, myths of transformation where birds change into people or vice versa, and birds as the source of human speech. In addition, many societies believe there is bird wisdom encoded in signs, omens, and dreams, which can be interpreted by specialists. Through song and dance, calls and whistles, people and birds communicate with each other. These papers address bird talk in terms of perception, hearing and understanding on various levels, and consider which particular birds are recognized for their abilities to advise or instruct, signal changes in the environment, and warn of impending danger. In what ways have avian voices been ignored, misappropriated, or silenced?

Ethnobiology Through Song

Session Organizer(s): 
Alvaro Fernandez-Llamazares
Dana Lepofsky

This session will explore the role of songs in transmitting and maintaining biocultural knowledge amongst Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities from all over the world. We seek a range of contributions with different scholarly perspectives, approaches, and orientations. First, we invite papers providing the theoretical foundations of the study of songs in ethnobiology, reviewing the history of scholarship, including key methods, subdisciplines, approaches, and findings. Second, we welcome case studies highlighting the role of songs in the intergenerational transmission of biocultural knowledge and traditional ecological management practices, as well as in cultivating a sense of place and fostering emotional connections with the land. Third, because traditional songs encompass a diversity of relational values, including reciprocity, kinship, and responsibility, contributions are sought that delve into the role of songs in promoting paradigms of respect towards the natural world. And fourth, we encourage submissions reviewing examples of biocultural revitalization through song, as well as case studies of how global change, and more specifically climate change, is influencing music-making in many communities around the world. All contributions are encouraged to consider how songs reveal conceptualizations of nature-culture interactions that differ substantially from Western epistemologies, and how the use and applications of songs and music could push forward the research agenda of modern-day ethnobiology.

Sharing Stories

Session Organizer(s): 
Dana Lepofsky

Across cultures and around the world, stories are a powerful way to share ethnobiological knowledge.  It has been so from the beginning of time.   In this session, we invite story-tellers to share stories that highlight people's connection to their biological worlds.  Lessons learned about our developing relationships with other creatures, how the world works, and how to act respectfully and responsibly, are among the many themes that will run throughout this session.

Unlike other sessions (which will be limited to 15 minutes per presentation), story tellers in this session will be given a 30 minute slot to share their stories.