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"

The increasing visibility of indigenous technologies as models for mitigating the effects of climate change creates urgent debates in cultural anthropology. My research contributes to these with an in-depth study of water sowing and harvesting, an ancestral technology for the management of rainwater that is indigenous to the Andean region. Growing interest in this technology coexists with conflicting desires of industrialization among Andean communities, and often against a culture of water grounded in communal governance. My research asks: In what ways are the clashing ontologies of water – as being, memory, and resource – physically shaping the territory? What are the forms of systematization of water sowing and harvesting? How do we distinguish the translatable form the untranslatable elements? I build on my work in the Peruvian Andes with the Association of Water Sowing and Harvesting (ASyCA) based in San Pedro de Casta in the state of Lima, to consider this farmers community in their dialogue with the indigenous community of Quispillaccta in the state of Ayacucho; articulating this localized practice as also constitutive of an inter-Andean network. My research examines how water acts as a cultural agent through which we can map conflicting ideas of development, planning, and well-being.