Accepted Paper:

Knowledge lost? Indigenous pedagogies, new mobility regimes, and agricultural futures in rural Mexico  
Fina Carpena-Mendez (Oregon State University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines how Mexican indigenous pedagogies enable the transmission and recreation of agro-ecological knowledge in the context of the spatial and temporal displacements of contemporary youth’s mobile livelihood strategies.

Paper long abstract:

A constellation of neoliberal policies have worked in synergy to uproot Mexican peasant, indigenous youth from local subsistence economies and to incorporate them into transnational migratory circuits in search of a future in the US. The transnational migration of indigenous farming communities has become a youth process. A common assumption is that rural youth do not have an interest in agriculture and that schooling and transnational migration disrupt the process of intergenerational transmission of agro-ecological knowledge. However, young migrant returnees initiated transnational sustainability projects based on the production of native blue corn for the global neoliberal market of healthy foods, transforming so-called traditional agricultural knowledge into an ethnocommodity (Comaroff and Comaroff 2009). By revisiting Chamoux' work on the existence of a Mesoamerican indigenous pedagogical system (Chamoux 1986) in light of recent theoretical developments on the shared production of knowledge-making between minds, bodies and environments (Ingold 2000, 2011; Marchand 2010), this paper examines processes of knowledge transmission in the context of the spatial and temporal displacements of indigenous youth's mobile livelihood strategies. Youth's experiences of circular migration and work in the opposite extremes of the global food system (as subsistence farmers in their childhood and later in restaurants in the US) have facilitated the re-appropriation of knowledge and re-creation of agricultural practices, processes that in turn hinge on the cognitive introjection cultivated by indigenous pedagogies.

Panel P119
Pedagogy: ethnographic and cognitive engagements