2021 SALSA XIII Biennial Conference – Panels/Workshops receiving proposals (1-25-21)

Approved Panels and Workshops Still Receiving Proposals

2021 SALSA XIII Biennial Conference – Charlottesville

SALSA XIII Conference University of Virginia Charlottesville-1

If interested in participating in a panel or workshop that is still receiving proposals, please email the organizers of that event.  If they invite you to join their event, you can then submit the Individual Proposal Form (https://airtable.com/shryaHcQAlUPJM5Mq) and select that panel/workshop in the form. Otherwise please submit your form without selecting a panel/workshop.

Note: abstracts are in various stages of translation into all three official languages of SALSA (Portuguese, Spanish, English).  Presentations can be in any of these three languages.

List of Panels and Workshops still receiving proposals

Failures of (and in) indigenous politics in Melanesia and Amazonia (Panel)

OrganizersVictor Cova (vcova@cas.au.dk), Juan Pablo Sarmiento Barletti (juanpa.sarmiento@gmail.com), Priscila Santos da Costa (priscilaprimeira@gmail.com)

Abstract: Our indigenous interlocutors often despair of the political processes they are involved in, which rarely produce the results they had hoped for. Despite the victories on rights recognition achieved in international and national forums, the combination of NGOs, indigenous federations, political parties and protests which constitute indigenous politics do not appear much closer to realising indigenous self-determination today than 40 years ago. Although the situation may look superficially very different for Amazonia and Melanesia, given the different post-colonial processes that have taken place in Oceania and South America, the disappointment, despair and despondency may be quite similar. In fact, it is often among the most apparently successful projects that the limitations and failures to indigenous self-determination appear the clearest. Anthropologists have been reluctant to address these failures or pin them down on external factors, and have commonly approached political action (from social movements to the ‘everyday’) as successful resistance despite their actual impact. What would it mean to say that indigenous politics have failed? How can failure be assessed, and according to whom? Can indigenous self-determination ever be achieved or was it a wrong aim to pursue from the start? What is left for indigenous peoples living in the gap between their recognised rights and their actual enjoyment of those rights? Are the modes of organisation and action that have dominated the past 50 years inadequate? Has excessive optimism, notably on the part of anthropologist advocates, sometimes contributed to these failures by turning even failure itself into a victory? What if, instead of partial and local failures, it was the entire project of indigenous politics that had failed? 

Multidisciplinary approaches to the Amazonian past (Workshop)

OrganizersNicholas Q. Emlen (n.q.emlen@hum.leidenuniv.nl), Leonardo Arias Alvis (l.arias.alvis@hum.leidenuniv.nl), Rik van Gijn (e.van.gijn@hum.leidenuniv.nl)

Abstract: In recent years, a number of new multidisciplinary research collaborations have begun to examine the history of Amazonia in novel ways. These efforts—which bring together the work of linguists, geneticists, cultural anthropologists, historians, archaeologists, geographers, biologists, and others—hold great promise for uncovering new insights about the South American past. In particular, the new era of large datasets and sophisticated quantitative methods has put them on increasingly rigorous scientific footing. However, these collaborations also present a number of methodological and interpretive challenges, including how to weave the findings of such disparate and technical disciplinary perspectives into a single, integrated account. Situating these findings within the robust ethnohistorical literature about South America presents perhaps an even greater challenge. This workshop brings together scholars involved in such multidisciplinary research projects (either as individuals or as representatives of their teams), at any time depth, to consider the possibilities and challenges that such collaborations present. Each paper will be circulated before the workshop; works in progress are welcome. We are particularly interested in contributions that present specific methodological quandaries or innovations for discussion among a sympathetic audience.

From Ritual to Justice: Towards a Decolonial and Feminist Approach to Ayahuasca (Workshop)

OrganizersSilvia Mesturini (silvia.mesturini@cnrs.fr), Olivia Marcus (olivia.marcus@uconn.edu)

Abstract: The proposition of this workshop rests on sharing and discussing the ethnography of ayahuasca rituality in both the Amazon and within international urban networks of ayahuasca practice. Considering how the recent resurgence of psychedelic studies and psychedelic medicine within the field of progressive mental health and policy-making emphasizes ayahuasca as a “substance”, we consider particularly relevant to take the importance of ritual practice and the multiplicity of ritual ingredients as an ethnographic main door. We are looking for a critical and constructive approach that puts social and ecological justice at the very core of the research on ayahuasca. Our main concern is to address the possibility and the modalities of a decolonial perspective. How can an ethnography of ayahuasca stay true to the decolonial objective of reclaiming Indigenous land and life? How can we address and understand what is an Indigenous way of living and inhabiting within the diversity of urban contexts and milieus evolving around the great variety of ayahuasca practices? How do ayahuasca ceremonies today articulate the possibility of inclusive open-end practices embodying egalitarian entanglements as an alternative to the spreading and the intensification of colonial and capitalist modes of relation: objectification, instrumentalization, extraction, scalability?

Amerindian Perspectives on the Environment and the Future of Life: Territories, Bodies and Socialities in Indigenous South and Central America (Panel)

Organizers: Cecilia McCallum (cam67@st-Andrews.ac.uk), Thiago Cardoso (thiagocardoso@ufam.edu.br), Susana Viegas (susana.viegas@ics.ulisboa.pt)

Abstract: The panel addresses the relations between humans, non-humans and the environment in South and Central America, in the spaces and ecological systems that are currently being devastated or threatened by global, capitalist interests and agencies. It will focus on Amerindian understandings of processes and events that are impacting upon their social worlds and material environments, looking at their views of the destruction of the lives, fertility and futures of subjects, human and non-human, person, animal and plant, and of waters, lands and landscapes. In short, papers will address the relationship between environment, eco-cosmological systems and multi-species relations, reflecting on the future of life, in Amerindian perspectives. Topics include: Contemporary forms of caring for, growing and curing bodies and landscapes through socio-cosmological, inter-ethnic and inter-species relations via shamanic, mundane, bio-medical, agro-ecological practices that involve crossing territorial and cosmic boundaries; Understandings of time, space and agencies in securing “Living Well”, the good life of humans and of non-human communities; Amerindian engagement in the politics of land and territory, involving resistance (sometimes co-optation) to incursions and colonization by petrochemical corporations, multinationals, ranching and agricultural businesses, and other invaders of Amerindian spaces, such as criminal organizations, traffickers, revolutionary organizations (e.g. FARC or Sendero Luminoso), autonomous miners and extractors of hardwood; Participation and interventions in international or national climate action and pro-environment spaces or organizations, including Indigenous rights movements. Amerindian participation in state agencies or NGOs contracted by the state that work in health and the environment;Amerindian gender politics and the environment.

On the Jaguar's Trail: Kanaima and the Historicities of Neil L. Whitehead (Panel)

OrganizersJames Andrew Whitaker (jwhitake@tulane.edu), Tarryl Janik (tjanik@uwm.edu)

Abstract: Based on fieldwork with the Patamona, Neil L. Whitehead (2001, 2002) conducted groundbreaking research on kanaima. This and related forms of violent ‘dark shamanism’ (Mentore 2004; Whitehead and Wright 2004) have a long and documented history among several Indigenous societies, such as the Akawaio (Butt Colson 2001), Makushi (Whitaker 2016, n.d.), Patamona (Whitehead 2003a), Pemon (Lewy 2018), and Warao (Wilbert 2004), which traces back into the colonial era in Guyana and the broader region. In addition to his research on violence (Whitehead and Finnström 2013), Whitehead (2003b) also worked at the intersections of meaning and history to understand the historicities of the present. However, his activities in Guyana have taken on a historicity of their own. Janik (2018) describes ongoing memories of him and his research on kanaima in the Patamona village of Paramakatoi where Whitehead worked. Whitaker (2017) encountered stories of Whitehead and his work as far away as the Makushi village of Surama where some suggest that kanaima was the actual cause of Whitehead’s untimely death in 2012. This panel will re-examine kanaima and lingering historicities of Whitehead’s work on this topic in Guyana. It will consider issues related to the practice and ethics of fieldwork on topics of violence and sorcery and on the potential of long-term entwinement of ethnographers in local oral histories.

Contested landscapes: access, ownership and control of land, forests and resources in lowland South America (Panel)

OrganizersGiancarlo Rolando (giancarlo.rb@gmail.com), Evan Killick (e.killick@sussex.ac.uk), Juan Pablo Sarmiento Barletti (juanpa.sarmiento@gmail.com), Chris Hewlett (cehewlett@gmail.com)

Abstract: During the second half of the twentieth century, many Lowland South American peoples organized themselves -with mixed results- to demand the legal recognition and protection of their ancestral territories. As part of this process, some countries reframed the mechanisms that organized land and resource tenure or created new ones -with different degrees of rights recognition- as they embarked on land demarcation, titling, and co-management processes. A multi-level network emerged in support, composed of multilateral organizations, NGOs, international courts, cooperation initiatives, and indigenous and local peoples organizations. This network diversified the strategies by which local peoples seek to secure and access territorial rights. In one strategy, communities and their organizations have built alliances with environmental and government organizations to protect their territories through the creation of different types of co-managed and protected areas. However, the power asymmetries between those involved often produce outcomes that may not reflect local peoples’ worldviews or interests. Legal and bureaucratic frameworks and actions tend to reflect the interests and priorities of governments and/or other powerful actors over those of local communities. We invite papers that explore the mechanisms by which Lowland South American indigenous and local communities have sought to assert their territorial rights, the ways these peoples think about and experience the legal and bureaucratic frameworks through which their territories are governed, and the way they participate and perceive their roles in relevant national and international networks. We are interested in comparing national frameworks and the ways local peoples negotiate them at different scales. We especially welcome collaborative projects and presentations that take advantage of the online format of the next SALSA conference to deliver shared presentations.

Wellbeing as a Process of ‘Mutual Creation’ (Panel)

OrganizersAgathe Faure (A.Faure@lse.ac.uk), Arturo Manuel Gonzalez Rosas (A.Gonzalez-Rosas@lse.ac.uk), Sasha Flatau (S.C.Flatau@lse.ac.uk), Angela Giattino (A.Giattino@lse.ac.uk)

Abstract: Our panel challenges the common perception of wellbeing, which centres on clashes between indigenous and non-indigenous worldviews and practices, by exploring it as a process of ‘mutual creation.’ We see wellbeing as not only future-oriented, but also grounded in the present and drawing on an indigenous past, romanticised in some cases, denigrated in others. This thematic panel pays homage to David Graeber’s call for an Anthropology of Value by considering the ways in which different ideas surrounding wellbeing are ‘a project of mutual creation, as something collectively made and remade’. In this vein, we consider ‘production as people-making’ to be key in our stance, viewing human beings as recreating ‘themselves and each other in the very process of acting on the world’. Following this, we shall examine how understandings of wellbeing are produced and negotiated by various indigenous and non-indigenous actors, including: state institutions, NGOs, missionaries, as well as indigenous leaders, youth and organisations; drawing on imagined ideas about one another’s lives and worldviews. We encourage presenters to discuss how these ideas are reflected in everyday practices and strategies, both personal and collective, regarding work, health, education, migration, family, leadership and other aspects of life, when it comes to navigating multiple projects and interventions about wellbeing.

Recently contacted peoples and their ethnographic and anthropological contexts: Public policies in debate in the Rio Negro Region (Workshop)

Organizers: Renato Athias (renato.athias@ufpe.br), Danilo Paiva Ramos (dpaivaramos@gmail.com), Pedro Lolli (pelolli78@gmail.com), Rafael Moreira (rafablackflag@gmail.com), João Vitor Fontanelli (joaofontanelli@gmail.com)

Abstract: This interdisciplinary workshop seeks to present elements for a better comprehension of Hupd’äh, Yohupdäh, Dâw e Nadëb ethnographic and anthropological current context. In this way, the workshop aims to broaden the debate on Recently-Contacted Peoples’ vulnerabilities, State policies, processes of political self-representation and empowerment. During the pandemic period, self-management and ethnodevelopment policies are not being implemented. Constitutional guidelines are not followed when these policies are implemented. Governmental actions lack proper discussion anchored in recently-contacted peoples’ reality, and planning for them to succeed. Recently-Contacted Peoples’ misunderstanding about governmental actions weakens culturally appropriate and self-management built in previous decades, and prevents the consolidation of efficient and effective attention policies. In present Brazilian context, it is urgent that these peoples are seen as subjects of rights and entitled to have their cultures respected.

Objects and Voices in a Virtual World: discussing experiences and potentials of the study of digitalized heritage (Panel)

OrganizersLeandro Matthews Cascon (l.mathews.cascon@arch.leidenuniv.nl), Genner Llanes Ortiz (g.d.j.llanes.ortiz@arch.leidenuniv.nl)

Abstract: The development of online digital resources and databases by museums, universities and research institutes has been seen as a form of promoting accessibility and democratizing information of collections which were mostly restricted to local researchers and museum personnel and to those able to physically visit them. With the Covid-19 crisis, the closure of museums and the interruption of access to collections has reinforced the relevance of virtual forms of access to material and immaterial knowledge. Advances on virtual access have, however, also been accompanied by a questioning if such efforts are indeed contributing to necessary changes. The virtualization of collections has allowed people from distant regions to conduct research, however, due to the choices and possibilities of each institution, the type of information available online is limited. Regarding institutions which deal with indigenous and traditional knowledge, such as ethnographic museums, critiques also discuss how accessible are these virtual environments for source communities, and what are the pitfalls of reparatory measures such as digital restitution. Indigenous and local actors are increasingly taking heritage documentation and circulation efforts in their own hand. They aim to benefit from the opportunities and low-cost effectiveness of digitalization while facing specific challenges. The present panel wishes to discuss the relevance, potential and limits of digital collections and virtual exhibitions for heritage research and for indigenous activism. The panel welcomes a wide variety of approaches to the study of digitalized heritage, such as of ethnographic and archaeological objects, audiovisual material (photographs, films, audios), biocultural collections and documentation.

Indigenous peoples in Guiana: contemporary ethnographies / Povos indígenas na Guiana: etnografias contemporâneas / Pueblos indígenas en Guyana: etnografías contemporáneas (Panel)

OrganizersLeonor Valentino (leonorv@gmail.com), Luísa G. Girardi (luisagirardi@gmail.com), Virgínia Amaral (mvramaral@gmail.com)


English: Between the 1960s and 1980s, the anthropology of Lowland South America was influenced by pioneering monographs and synthesis carried out among indigenous peoples in the Guiana region. Dedicated to themes such as kinship, politics, and social organization, some of these key-studies shaped the ethnological debates developed in the following decades throughout indigenous Amazonia. From the 1990s to the present, the ethnology of indigenous peoples in the Guiana area flourished, with ethnographies focused on various topics. The purpose of this panel is to bring together researchers currently engaged with indigenous peoples in the Guiana area, collaborating to the diversity of perspectives on the region. We welcome contributions from indigenous and non-indigenous researchers, in English, Portuguese or Spanish, dedicated to themes such as bodiliness, personhood, history, mythology, movement, territoriality, kinship, social organization, ethnonymics, onomastics, shamanism and Christianity.

Português: Entre os anos 1960 e 1980, a etnologia nas Terras Baixas da América do Sul foi influenciada por monografias e sínteses pioneiras realizadas junto a povos indígenas na área da Guiana. Dedicados à temas como parentesco, política e organização social, alguns desses estudos foram decisivos para os debates etnológicos desenvolvidos nas décadas seguintes em toda a Amazônia indígena. Dos anos 1990 ao presente, a etnologia dos povos indígenas na área da Guiana floresceu, com etnografias voltadas às mais variadas temáticas. Este painel tem o propósito de promover o diálogo entre pesquisadores engajados com os povos indígenas nas Guianas, colaborando para a diversidade de perspectivas sobre a região. São bem-vindas contribuições de pesquisadores indígenas e não-indígenas, em inglês, português ou espanhol, dedicadas a temas como corporalidade, pessoa, história, mitologia, movimento, territorialidade, parentesco, organização social, etnonímia, onomástica, xamanismo e cristianismo.

Español: Entre las décadas de 1960 y 1980, la antropología de las tierras bajas de América del Sur estuvo afectada por monografías y síntesis pioneras llevadas a cabo a partir de investigaciones entre los pueblos indígenas de la región de Guyana. Ocupándose de temas como el parentesco, la política y la organización social, algunos de estos estudios fueron esenciales para el desarollo de los debates etnológicos sobre la Amazonia indígena en las décadas siguientes. Además, desde los años 1990 hasta el presente, la etnología de los pueblos indígenas de la región de la Guyana se ha multiplicado, presentando etnografías focalizadas en distintos temas. El objetivo de este panel es reunir a los investigadores que actualmente se dedican a los pueblos indígenas de las Guyanas, con el fin de contribuir a la diversificación de las miradas sobre la región. Son bienvenidas contribuciones de investigadores indígenas y no indígenas, en inglés, portugués o español, y que estén orientadas a temas como la corporeidad, la personificación, la historia, la mitología, el movimiento, la territorialidad, el parentesco, la organización social, la etnonimia, la onomástica, el chamanismo y el cristianismo.

Visibilizing the Chaco region of South America: current agendas of Social, Political and Environmental Transformations (Panel)

OrganizersSilvia Hirsch (silviahirsch5@gmail.com), Paola Canova (pcanova@utexas.edu)

Abstract: The Chaco region of South America, is a vast eco-region which stretches across four countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay and is inhabited by more than twenty-five indigenous groups, criollo settlers, colonists of diverse nationalities, Mennonites, and Brazilian immigrants, among others. In recent decades, this ecoregion has experienced fast-paced environmental, social and economic changes as a result of an intensification of extractive industries such as agribusiness, ranching, logging and the exploitation of hydrocarbons. In a few decades, the area has become a complex arena of political, cultural and economic contestation between different actors that include the state, environmental and developmental NGOs, religious groups, and private businesses whose projects and agendas collide with the ways of life of local residents. In this panel we seek to present current research being conducted in the region which reveals the ways in which different local actors are experimenting and negotiating socio-economic, religious and environmental transformations in their own terms. By showing how local actors are contesting, accommodating or re-defining their subjectivities while re-configuring their political agency as a response to these transformations we intend to bring greater visibility to the Gran Chaco as a site with a long history of ethnographic research quite underrepresented in lowland South American studies. We have been working with members of our planning committee, SALSA board members, and the digital technology staff at the University of Virginia to develop our vision for a rich and engaging virtual conference experience.  Our primary goal is to retain as much as possible, within a virtual environment, SALSA’s legacy of convivial, interpersonal conferencing.  For those who were hoping to attend, we share in your disappointment at not being able to gather in person but hope you will stay with us through the transition online.  For those who might have faced barriers against traveling to Charlottesville, we are dedicated to ensuring that you can now fully participate and share your valuable research and ideas with the broader collective. As scholars who work with indigenous peoples of one of the most biodiverse and environmentally threatened regions of our planet, many remain concerned about the carbon footprint of conventional conferencing.  Our decision to move the conference online presents us with an opportunity to be ethically proactive and supportive of climate justice.  We want to take advantage of the general shift occurring in academia towards virtual conferencing.  In short, the current unfortunate, unexpected, and unprecedented circumstances have provided us an occasion to create the most accessible, inclusive, globally diverse, and carbon-conscious event in the history of SALSA.  We will work hard to make this happen.

–Jeremy M. Campbell (SALSA President 2020-2023), Laura R. Graham (SALSA President-Elect 2023-2027), Laura Zanotti (Secretary-Treasurer 2017-2020), George Mentore (SALSA 2021 Conference Organizer), Laura Mentore (SALSA 2021 Academic Program Chair), Juan Alvaro Echeverri (SALSA Webmaster).

Please send all inquiries about this conference to: salsaconference2021@gmail.com