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Indigenous peoples' contributions to agrobiodiversity: "state of the art" and case study among the Krahô (TO)

Grant number: 17/13154-7
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2017
Effective date (End): March 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Anthropology - Indigenous Ethnology
Principal Investigator:Maria Manuela Ligeti Carneiro da Cunha
Grantee:Ana Gabriela Morim de Lima
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):18/13061-1 - Agrobiodiversity and autochthonous knowledge: the contribution of Amerindian peoples and an ethnographic study amongst the Krahô (Tocantins, Brazil), BE.EP.PD


Facing current socio-environmental challenges, this project focuses upon indigenous knowledges and practices that enhance agrobiodiversity, especially the biological, historical and sociocultural dynamics that lead to the increase and/or loss of agrobiodiversity. The research follows two main axes: (i) a wide literature review, producing a "state of the art" on local and scientific knowledges available about indigenous peoples' contributions to agrobiodiversity; (ii) conducting a case study based upon field research among the Krahô, an indigenous people of the Cerrado. The literature review and field research among the Krahô are focused on traditional management (techniques of gardening, selection and conservation of seeds, incorporation of new crop varieties, role of pollinators, management with fire, etc.); their conceptual and cosmological schemes (myths, rituals, chants, seasonal and gardening calendars, etc.); wide social networks of seeds and transmission of associated knowledges. Indigenous practices and conceptualizations break away from conventional definitions of "nature" and "culture" and reveal a radically different mode of thinking relationships with the environment and the beings that inhabit it. The dialogue between local and scientific knowledges is a key issue running along the project, its potentialities, challenges and possibilities of mediation, as well as the misunderstandings emerging from incommensurable differences. The aim is to foster interdisciplinary debates and intercultural researches within various biodiversity management and conservation projects currently at work in Brazil.

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