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In the last decades, several academic disciplines have undergone a process of restructuring triggered both by a deepening climatic and environmental crisis and by anti-colonial and anti-racist protests throughout the world. In Latin America, the increasingly important role of Indigenous and Maroon peoples, as well as of several other traditional communities, in politics and in academia led to new perspectives on socio-environmental issues. In this context, the so-called Environmental Humanities, which bring together literary and film studies, philosophy, history, anthropology, archeology and ecology, among other disciplines, show the relevance of different approaches to understand the complex relationship between humans and non-humans. At the center of these debates, plants have slowly emerged not only as biological, but also as historical, social and political beings that can potentially subvert entrenched notions of agency, intelligence, modes of being in the world and, at the limit, the very frontiers that delimit the concept of humanity. At the same time, studies about plants question disciplinary boundaries and the historical process of scientific specialization, predicated upon the opposition between natural sciences and human and social sciences.

This is the background to a discussion of the concept of “Vegetal Humanities” from an interdisciplinary perspective and in the broader context of the exponential growth of the Environmental Humanities in the past decade. The Amazon, a region known for its sociobiodiversity and in which plants are central to the cosmovisions of Indigenous, Maroon and riverine peoples, is the point of departure for a multi-species reflection about the vegetal world. We seek to dialogue with the relational ontology of Amazonian peoples, for whom many plants are beings with specific points of view, just like humans. How are the interactions between plants, humans and other entities in the Amazon River Basin shaped? What are the contributions of Amazonian thought to the Environmental Humanities? What (alternative) images of humanity do plants reveal? These are some of the questions that will guide this colloquium.


October 13-14, 2022

Center for Social Studies, University of Coimbra
Room 1, CES Alta

In Person / Streaming Online
Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 816 0011 7164
Password: 428225



Note: The times indicated in the program refer to local time in continental Portugal

October 13

2-2:15pm: Opening of the Colloquium
António Sousa Ribeiro (Director of the Center for Social Studies, University of Coimbra)
Patrícia Vieira (Senior Researcher, Center for Social Studies, University of Coimbra)

2:15-4:15pm: Session 1

Agricultura de brincadeira das baixas terras da América do Sul?
Manuela Carneiro da Cunha (University of São Paulo, University of Chicago)

Una metodología para la lectura territorial a través de los vestigios de la inscripción humana en la naturaleza
Esperanza Martinez (Oficina de Derechos de la Naturaleza – Acción Ecológica)

Los cantos: una forma de relacionarse con el bosque y con la memoria histórica amazónica desde la cultura Shiwiar
Rosa Elvira Gualinga Chuji (Indigenous Shiwiar Leader – Saramanta Warmikuna)

Moderator: Karen Shiratori (Center for Social Studies, University of Coimbra)

4:30-6:30pm: Session 2

O olhar colonial sobre a vegetação amazônica: estranhamento, seletividade e utilitarismo
José Augusto Pádua (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro)

Eco-colonialismo ganadero em los trópicos del Nuevo Mundo: entrando en el nuevo Pyroceno y Eremoceno
Susanna Hecht (UCLA)

Narrativas y relacionamientos con el bosque amazónico desde la perspectiva Kichwa
Zoila Castillo Tuti (Kichwa Amazonian leader – Saramanta Wuarmikuna)

Moderator: Elena Gálvez (Center for Social Studies, University of Coimbra)

7pm: Film
Nūhū Yãg Mū Yõg Hãm: This is Out Land! (Isael Maxakali, Sueli Maxakali, Carolina Canguçu, Roberto Romero, 2020, Brasil, 71’)
Presenter: Roberto Romero (Federal University of Minas Gerais)

Moderator: Raphael Uchôa (Center for Social Studies, University of Coimbra)

October 14

2-4pm: Session 3

“Saudades das árvores compridas”: retomar a terra e a vida com os Tikmū’ūn-Maxakali.
Roberto Romero (Federal University of Minas Gerais)

O agrocídio e o planeta-pipoca: Pensando com Colheita Maldita, de Denilson Baniwa
Jamille Dias Pinheiro (University of London)

Plantas que sanan, plantas que cantan. Propuesta artística de intervención audiovisual y sonora a partir de la experiencia y conocimientos del pueblo Shipibo-Konibo-Xetebo
Néstor Paiva Pinedo (Comando Matico, TAFA, Asociación RAO-Medicine)

Moderator: Emanuele Fabiano (Center for Social Studies, University of Coimbra)

4:30-6:30pm: Session 4

Como a Amazônia foi formada pelos povos da floresta
Eduardo Góes Neves (Museum of Archeology and Ethnology, University of São Paulo)

Plantas em narrativas cosmogônicas amazônicas
Lúcia Sá (University of Manchester)

Sistema de conhecimento-prático dos povos indígenas do noroeste amazônico
João Paulo Tukano (Federal University of the Amazon)

Moderator: Maria Esther Maciel (University of Campinas and Federal University of Minas Gerais)

6:30-6:45pm: Closing of the Colloquium