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Session and Workshop Abstracts

Session 4D (S4D) - Abstracts

Many ways of knowing: Methods as ethical responses to marginalised and indigenous knowledges

Paper 1: A decolonial art-led research within an ecology of care: from Ethics to Risk Assessment

Speaker(s): Livia Daza-Paris

Keywords: Decolonizing, methodologies, ethics, ecology of care, art-led research, Venezuela.


Abstract: For the Decolonizing section of your Ethics Conference, you ask: How can we decolonize ethics? In your call, you encourage contributions that may be inspired by our own practice, critical theories and experience. I propose to discuss your timely concerns through a paper on my current interdisciplinary art-led research guided by a plurality of ways of knowing (Kimmerer 2003) that is imbued with principles of Indigenous knowledge. The research ethics draw from decolonizing methodologies (Tuhawi Smith 1999), upholding relational accountability (Wilson 2008) between me, a mestiza Venezuelan artist/researcher and my collaborators who are Venezuelan campesinos: rural people of mestizo descent1. Importantly, these relational ethics expand to place and land, including the human and the nonhuman in an “ecology of care” (Puig de la Bellacasa 2017, Dufourmantelle 2018) that emerges from a practice immersed in art as research.

This art-led research investigates a non-official history from the 1960s Cold-War era, specific to rural north-west Venezuela, that is embedded in colonialism, imperialism, state violence and political disappearances (Amnesty International 1993); this marginalized history has directly affected my life as well as the lives of the campesinos.

I propose to present a case study of the ethics and risk assessment presented in my research developed through decolonizing methodologies and axiologies in resonance with somatic practices. I hope that this will function in two ways: firstly, that it stands alone as an example of decolonizing ethics; secondly, that it presents a sharp contrast to the restricted set of normative models for methodology, ethics and risk assessment offered by the university—and that persist in Eurocentric academic research. It is my wish that by presenting the context and process wherein these ethics developed might offer the following contributions: to expand perspectives on the persistent biases surrounding knowledge production; and to further conversations on the pedagogical shifts necessary to respond to the urgent decolonial turn (Todd 2016).

Paper 2: Exploring Colombian marginalised youth voices within páramo social-ecological systems to understand the impacts of environmental risks on youth resilience

Speaker(s): Nicholas Marais Reyneke

Keywords: social-ecological systems, resilience, marginalised youth, environmental risk, páramos, and participatory research. 


Abstract: By drawing on elements from resilience thinking within a social-ecological system (SES), this research explores the inclusion of socially marginalised youth and their knowledge to understand the impacts of environmental risk on youth resilience. A novel approach in participatory research is applied with a case study in the Colombian Tropical Andes. This approach will give a group of socially marginalised youth from an impoverished community living on the fringes of a páramo their first opportunity to represent themselves in environmental decision-making processes. Páramos are considered a primary freshwater source for people living in the Colombian Tropical Andes. Young people’s voices in these SESs will explore participatory research, including participatory mapping and photography, spatial image capture via uncrewed aerial vehicles, and innovative technology. These methods support an approach to SES research that seeks better to understand existing SES frameworks and marginalised youth knowledge.

Paper 3: The Visible Traces of Bias: The Disruption of CanLit's Status Quo

Speaker(s): Heather Simeney MacLeod

Keywords: Indigenous, CanLit, Canadian Literature, race relations, BIPOC, classism


Abstract: In the past several years, Canadian literature (CanLit) has undergone unprecedented and public internal divisions that, though revolving around recent controversies, emerged from the deep waters of Canada's, often unaddressed and ignored, inequities across gender, race, and class. The controversies ranging from allegations of sexual assault and bullying from a Chair of a prestigious Creative Writing program to Canada's go-to Indigenous writer and spokesperson's Indigeneity revealed as absent to Canada's most powerful people within media suggesting an appropriation prize for white writers should be funded, Canadian literature's unethical corporeality had revealed itself. A collection of essays, tweets, storifies, and creative writing from many marginalized Canadians emerged from print, online publication, blogs, and social media addressing, as one writer referred to it, the raging dumpster fire of CanLit. Responding to the furor, Hannah McGregor, Julie Rak, and Erin Wunker edited ReFuse: CanLit in Ruins. What might make CanLit unique from other national literary communities is its size. The community spans the length and breadth of a continent and numbers, like its population, a few. In the wading pool of CanLit, its unethical breaches have been tsunamis to BIPOC, as well as to LGBTQ communities, and to the class system writ large within the CanLit controversies. 

I suggest an ethical approach has been difficult within CanLit just as it is difficult within the nation of Canada, for both entities have prided themselves upon their diversity, liberal notions, and left-wing ruminations. The disruption of CanLit’s status quo may offer an approach to ethics long-missing within CanLit. Mending these ruptures within CanLit and ensuring it is not symbolic, not erasable but material and tangible requires an ethical approach. I suggest this paradigm shift within CanLit may benefit from implementing cultural currency. As Juanita Sherwood indicates, ""Cultural competence is the ability to participate ethically and effectively in personal and professional intercultural settings. It requires being aware of one's own cultural values and world view and their implications for making respectful, reflective and reasoned choices, including the capacity to imagine and collaborate across cultural boundaries"" (Sherwood n. pag.). As Canada and CanLit by extension has relied upon the political rhetoric of embracing diversity by enacting and carrying out cultural currency and collaboration is an ethical course of action for CanLit to not only embrace diversity but to reckon with it and fuse it within its community, industry, cultural field, and academic discipline.

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