Canada / UK
Date of Birth:
4 de julio de 1983, 11:00:00 p. m.
11 de enero de 2022, 3:07:43 p. m.
I am a writer, anthropologist, and prof at UNB in Fredericton, Canada. My approach to ethnography is as a practice of writing and research, and at El Boga I will work on both.
Writing. My first book is Shifting Livelihoods (University of Washington Press, 2020) is about gold mining in the Chocó. It draws on two years of ethnographic fieldwork (2010-2012) and visiting Colombia most years since 2008, to show how Afro-descendent communities mine gold in the rainforests of the Chocó. It is an ethnography of gold that examines the movement of people, commodities, and capital to shows how resource extraction reshapes a place. My second book, Letters from the Future: How New Brunswickers Confronted Climate Change and Redefined Progress, is a co-edited collection of “speculative non-fiction” (Chapel Street Editions, 2022). In editing it, I, and my co-editors, asked 37 diverse authors to transport themselves to the distant and not-so-distant future and dream about what New Brunswick could become if we seize the opportunity to create the small, rural province in the Canadian Maritimes that confronts climate change and achieves a goal of sustainable living.I have attached my CV, parts of Shifting Livelihoods and Letters from the Future, a book review, and two recent articles on the Chocó in press. From this work, I am interested in how to craft narrative with theoretical purpose, and my new book is about writing as embodied craftwork. I hope to complete this book at El Boga in April and May, 2022.
Research: I have visited Colombia since 2008 (Medellín, the Chocó, and Santander). My recent project is about rural livelihoods on the Magdalena River, for which I am building a research network with María Ximena González Serrano on rural Afro-descendent livelihoods. I first met Ximena in the Chocó in 2010, when she was a lawyer involved in the decision to grant the Atrato River rights in 2016. She is now a doctoral candidate in Spain, and her family is from Mompox. Together, we are building a research network of students, researchers, and communities working on rural Afro-descendent ways of life in the Americas, the Caribbean, and West Africa.
Our focus is threefold: 1. Black ecologies, rural livelihoods, and a portmanteau of Afro-descendent agrarian knowledge of seeds, biota, farming, and cuisine that have shaped lowland, riverine, and wetland regions. 2. The rights of nature, through the movement to grant rivers rights, the recognition of geographic indications of origin, and the concomitant need to understand the rights of Afro-descendent peoples to their rivers, wetlands, water, and knowledge. 3. The patterns of dispossession of these and other forms of knowledge and practice by contemporary capitalism. This network brings students, research, institutions, and community organizations together framed around case studies. My case study will be about rural livelihoods in the Depresión Momposina, for which I will begin fieldwork at Casa Taller El Boga.
Afro-descendent Rural Livelihoods in the Mompox Depression
11 de enero de 2022, 4:00:00 a. m.
Duration in weeks:
The Project: My hope is to be in residence for four weeks at the end of April and the beginning of May and for two weeks at the beginning of August. (Exact dates are open to discussion). My objective are threefold: 1) finalize a book manuscript, 2) begin fieldwork on rural livelihoods in the Momposina Depression, and 3) build local networks to participate in a research network.
For the first, I will spent early to mid-mornings completing a new book on the craft of writing. This book is half done. I will work on it from now until April, and at El Boga I plan to edit, revise, and complete the book. It is a book about writing as fieldwork, which I have been working on for the two years.
For the second, I will spent late mornings and afternoons throwing myself into ethnographic fieldwork in Mompox and the surrounding region. My aim is to talk to people about rural livelihoods, the river, and wetlands. I plan to hang out, do participant observation, and lay the ground work for long term place based fieldwork, which is the hallmark of good ethnography. From this, I will produce a research archive of field notes, interview notes, jottings, impressions, photographs, and videos, as well as to create the network and connections require for longer term research.
Fieldwork in Mompox will also allow me to build networks and make community contacts to support the grant application I am working on with Ximena. This grant, due in September, aims to create a larger research network of researchers working on rural livelihoods in other parts of Colombia, the Caribbean, and West Africa. While we hope to have a draft complete between now and April, time in Mompox will allow me to make connections with local partners.
So, my general objective at El Casa is writing and fieldwork. Early mornings revising, and late mornings and afternoons doing fieldwork and making connections. In my experience, working on various things at once is productive, as when one becomes a challenge the other beckons.
While my main goal is steady good work, the final product will be a book manuscript, a beginning to ethnographic research, and connections in support of a wider research network.
The grant is a collective project. Since September, Ximena and I have been working to build a research network with researchers working in Canada, Colombia, Nigeria, Jamaica, Guatemala, and the Mississippi. Partners include, Daniel Ruiz Sernao working on the Lower Atrato, Carlos Andres Meza at ICANH working on the Buadó River, Toby Leon Moorsom working on traditional marijuana crops in Jamaica, Claudia Mosquera Rosero at the National University of Colombia in Valledupar working on rural Black communities in Cesar, and my PhD student Faith Ejiroghene Timipere Allison working on rural livelihoods in the Nigera Delta. Over the next six months, Ximena and I plan workshops with these collaborators to develop the network and to prepare for the grant application.
My own fieldwork will be community based. In Mompox, I aim to develop local networks in the Mompox depression to facilitate my contribution to this research network. While Ximena is currently in Mompox visiting family, I have yet to begin in earnest to make these connections. In my experience, it is better to make connections slowly and in person. That is, my aim is to use the time in Mompox to make community contacts, to connect with local organizations, and to learn what is going on in and around Mompox so as to enable future fieldwork and visits, and grow the research network.
Expected Results: First, I will finish a book on writing, which will be approximately 80,000 words, and which is half done. Second, I will begin ethnographic fieldwork on rural livelihoods in the Mompox Depression. Third, I will make connections with community organizations, peasant organizations, artisanal fishing organizations, and cultural organizations in Mompox to support the participate in the network that Ximena and I are building.
Alliances with Associations and Guilds: At present, our network includes participants from the Colombian Institute for Anthropology and History (INCANH), and researchers with universities in Medellín and Valledupar. My own local connections in Mompox are not strong. However, I plan to build these connections over the next few months, in preparation for my time at El Boga.
My references are two. Claudia Mosquera Rosero-Labbé (email@example.com, +57 311 589 6339) Professor at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Valledupar. I have known Claudia since 2009, and she has watched my trajectory as a scholar.
Ximena González Gonzalez (firstname.lastname@example.org, +41 76 443 47 83) is presently in Mompox, and is completing her PhD in Spain in the rights of rivers. She was a lead lawyer on the Atrato Decision, and is working with me on this research.
Both are Colombian and can speak to my research and my book Shifting Livelihoods.
My dates are, at present, April 26 to May 20 and August 1 to August 14. But, I am open to discussion, if these don't work. If you have any graduate students applying, on similar themes, broadly conceived, I would be open to discussing supporting them with a scholarship.