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Llanes_Ortiz,_Genner_de_Jesús.pdf (2.39 MB)

Indigenous universities and the construction of interculturality: the case of the Peasant and Indigenous University Network in Yucatan, Mexico

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posted on 2023-06-07, 15:26 authored by Genner de Jesús Llanes Ortiz
“Interculturality” has become a key concept in the conceptualising and struggling for new relationships between dominant and subordinated identities and knowledges in Latin America. My research is based on a collaborative effort to document and examine how “interculturality” is realised as a “dialogue between equal actors and knowledges” in the creation of Indigenous and Intercultural Universities. It follows a multi-level analysis that begins by interrogating the diverse ways in which different education projects formulate and negotiate their “interculturality” in the Latin American region. It pays particular attention to the political dimensions of “dialogue” by examining the diverse engagements between social actors, discourses and agendas. Secondly, it focuses on the specific design and development of the Peasant and Indigenous University Network (UCI-Red for its Spanish acronym) as a case study. UCI-Red promotes and supports endogenous and sustainable development processes in different micro-regions of the Peninsula of Yucatan, Mexico. This is a collective project where Mexican Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) have become engaged and allied with Yucatec Mayan peasants. “Interculturality” has become one of the main principles of their definition of sustainable development and it has been assimilated into their practice of development promotion. After examining the intellectual trajectories and the perspectives on “culture”, “identity” and “learning” of the organisations involved in UCI-Red, I argue that a deeper understanding of cultural difference that goes beyond discursive and objectifying definitions of identity and knowledge is needed. Indigenous knowledge is a notion that involves not only concepts and principles but most importantly embodied forms of knowing, social and symbolic practices, and a particular ideal of personhood. Hybrid forms of learning can and must be constructed in continuity with these overlooked epistemologies if education projects want to commit to a true “dialogue between knowledges”.


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