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Since its founding in 1991, the Indigenous Research Center of the Americas (IRCA) has served as a forum for sharing knowledge and reflections on indigenous cultures and the inherent decolonial struggles for higher levels of autonomy, sovereignty, and self-determination in Native nations across the hemisphere. Read More

Our Vision

In addition to the creation and circulation of new and existing tools, IRCA affiliates will assist in widening the network to include a greater range of native and non-native scholars, activists, artists, students, and others in partnerships allied with the IRCA mission. Read More

Workshop/Conference “All our Relatives: Indigenous Peoples Epistemologies in Dialogue”


UC Davis Campus: June 2 and 3, 2010

IRCA, NAS, the Collège de France (chaire d’Anthropologie de la nature), and the Laboratoire d’Anthropologie sociale (Paris) are convening a two-day workshop/conference on Indigenous Peoples Epistemologies in Dialogue as part of a research project sponsored by the France-Berkeley Funds. The purpose of the workshops is to expand and deepen an on-going dialogue that Anthropology and Native American/Indigenous Studies have maintained with the indigenous communities of the Americas on the epistemic challenges posed by indigenous peoples’ modes of knowledge and the interrelated cultural and social practices.

This particular field of the relation Culture-Nature among the Amerindians of the Amazon, the Andes and Mesoamerica has produced analytical studies that have both enlightened and questioned the structures and dynamics of the dualist paradigm that has dominated the last centuries of Euro-American science and humanities. The larger conceptual frame of this workshop/conference is the idea that indigenous peoples that are still deeply rooted in rural areas across the Americas either as horticulturalists and foragers – mostly in the tropical lowlands of South America – or as members of agrarian communities – indigenous peasants of the Andes and Mesoamerica – during millennia have developed cosmologies, gnosis and praxis that do not follow dualist Aristotelian worldviews nor the Judeo-Christian habit that separates nature from humanity, but rather an integrative cosmology that “animates” the whole universe as a socio-cultural dynamic construction. Philippe Descola has re-introduced the idea of “animism” as opposed to “naturalism” to describe this indigenous worldview and epistemology, whereas Stefano Varese has used the neologism “cosmos-centric” as opposed to “anthropocentric” to illustrate the same phenomenon. Although these types of ethnographic reasoning and techniques are not new in anthropology and have been practiced since the early 20th century, a renewed combination of historical-cultural analysis with bioscience and ecology is beginning to shed light on fundamental qualitative differences between environmental management, production and consumption in indigenous societies and contemporary industrial and post-industrial societies in their relations with nature for the same purpose of production, distribution, consumption and ultimately survival. Profound, comparative and thick ethnographic analyses of indigenous cosmologies, epistemologies and praxis – with the assessment of their success or failure- may certainly hold key interpretive elements of our own “modern” bio-cultural biases and contribute to redress fundame.


All Our Relatives project description PDF.
Documento de trabajo PDF
Flyer for print quality in PDF format


Wednesday, June 2
5:30-7:30 pm.
AGR Room, Buehler Alumni Center

Public Lecture and Reception:
Societies, Wholes, Collectives: an Ontological Perspective.
Professor Philippe Descola, Laboratoire d’anthropologie sociale and Collège de France, Paris

Thursday, June 3
9:00 am-1:00 pm.
Risling Room, 3201 Hart Hall

Panel Discussion:
Indigeneities as Other Knowledges


  • Philippe Descola, Lab. d’antropologie social, Paris
  • Verena Stolcke, U. Autónoma de Barcelona
  • Alexandre Surrallés, Lab. d’antropologie social, Paris
  • Montserrat Ventura I Oller, U. Autónoma de Barcelona
  • Victor Montejo, NAS-IRCA, UC Davis
  • Inés Hernández-Avila, NAS-IRCA, UC Davis
  • Bettina Ng’weno, AAS, UC Davis
  • Julio López-Maldlonado, IRCA
  • Everardo Garduño, U. Autónoma de Baja California,
  • Marisol de la Cadena, Anthropology, UC Davis

Discussants: Stefano Varese, NAS-IRCA, UCD  & Guillermo Delgado, UC Santa Cruz

Coffee break: 10:30 – 10:45 am

Primarily funded by the France-Berkeley Funds, and sponsored by the Indigenous Research Center of the Americas-IRCA, the Department of Native American Studies-NAS, and the Hemispheric Institute on the Americas-HIA.

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