Perry Maddox

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Johns Hopkins U.

Grant number

Gr. 10432

Approve Date

October 11, 2022

Project Title

Maddox, Perry (Johns Hopkins U.) "Swidden Futures: Indigenous/campesino practice and climate politics in Panama and the UN"

After decades of advocacy, the Local Communities and Indigenous People’s Platform (LCIPP) was successfully passed in the 2019 UN climate negotiations, acknowledging Indigenous peoples as holders of ‘traditional knowledge’ which must inform climate solutions. However, what constitutes such knowledge and how it is to shape climate policy remain contested. My project traces the efforts of Indigenous Ng’be, Bugl’, and campesino people from western Panama, who have reclaimed and reforested lands devastated by cattle ranching, to position their experiences of re-habitation as useful knowledge for climate policy. In particular, I examine (1) the political and agroecological work by which these lands were transformed from ranch to swidden and forest, and are maintained against threats of dispossession; (2), the onset of climate change and climate policy as they are refracted through practices of re-habitation; and (3) the engagement of Indigenous/campesino people with international climate governance; to draw attention to the ongoing labor that makes livable landscapes. While my project explores how Indigeneity is mobilized within climate politics, it also centers Indigenous/campesino practices of re-habitation as a vital mode of knowledge production for life with climate change, ultimately asking what re-habitation’s encounter with climate policy makes visible about dominant conceptions of human-ecological relations.