Language and Landscape in Indigenous Amazonia
Faculty Research Grant
The research investigates how the Wauja people of Brazil’s Xingu Indigenous Park use language to describe their relationships to places in their territory, to perform ritual connections to ancestral, spirit, and animal beings who share their spaces, as well as to make political claims in defense of their territory to state and nonstate actors who threaten its integrity. I theorize indigenous epistemologies of place in terms of connections between discourses, or “interdiscursivity,” to explore how indigenous cosmology is tied to the politics of shaping indigenous futures in civil society. Methodological focus is on audiovisual digital recording and analysis of narratives, fieldwork-based ethnography, and collaborative digital mapping. Specific outcomes include GIS maps based in a digital database of indigenous knowledge of the Brazilian Upper Xinguan landscape.