Vered Engelhard

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Columbia U.

Grant number

Gr. 10298

Approve Date

April 13, 2022

Project Title

Engelhard, Vered (Columbia U.) "Sowing and Harvesting Water: Recovering an Ancestral Technology in the Peruvian Andes"

VERED ENGELHARD, then a graduate student at Columbia University, New York, New York, received a grant in April 2022 to aid research on “Sowing and Harvesting Water: Recovering an Ancestral Technology in the Peruvian Andes,” supervised by Dr. Ana Maria Ochoa. Indigenous technologies are gaining increasing visibility as models for social planning. In light of this, the humanities and social sciences advance a socio-cultural definition of technology, analyzing the politics of its infrastructure in constant translation between the languages and modes of living that originate them. This research contributes to this movement with an in-depth study of the practices of water sowing and harvesting, an ancestral technology for the management of rainwater that is indigenous to the Andean region. The construction of its minimal intervention infrastructure of local stone, adobe, and vegetation, demands profound knowledge of the territory. The practices for the infrastructure’s maintenance — involving traditional song, dance, and ritual –forge a culture of water grounded in communal governance and food sovereignty. Through an analysis situated in this work with the Asociaci’n de Siembra y Cosecha de Agua in the Peruvian Andes, consider the organizational, technical, and ontological dimensions of caring for water in their interdependence. Participation in meetings, assemblies, traditions, and everyday rituals is combined with archival work in official, communal, and personal archives; experiences that enrich the series of conversations with community members, political leaders, and external allies that ground this research.