Sunday, May 27, 2018
First Nations - FN 2007
Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK, and its variant titles) has long been cited as existing in some sense alongside ‘western’ or ‘European’ traditions of ‘science’ as a source of knowledge that is independent of, distinct from and even opposed to ‘science’; the use of the term ‘system’ to describe either is commonly used (rightly or wrongly) to mark their distinctness. At the same time, TEK is now generally acknowledged as deserving and requiring an equivalent standing in what have otherwise been largely science-based processes of adjudication and management across a broad array of contexts (e.g. medical, environmental, judicial). Characterizing the nature of the boundaries and relations between these two ‘systems’ is an epistemic challenge with both theoretical and practical dimensions. A seemingly intractable diversity of approaches for dealing with this challenge have ranged from synergistic, co-learning approaches, to bridging strategies, to fierce declarations of the necessary maintenance of independence and solitude between the two ‘systems.’ Given Canada’s post-colonial context, dominated by the recent findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) and Canada’s commitments to the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the epistemic challenge carries a political urgency.
This panel draws on expertise within both First Nations and non-First Nations scholarly communities in speaking to this challenge. In particular, the fields of STS and HPS have important contributions to make, not least in helping to open up characterizations of ‘science’ that can be of use for the broader epistemic challenge described above. A perspective from India will also be included to allow for an international perspective with a very different post-colonial context.
With financial support from the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences Aid for Interdisciplinary Sessions Fund.
Speakers: Kim Talbear, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience and Environment, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta; Andrew Reynolds, Professor of Philosophy, Cape Breton University; Ted Binnema, Professor of History, University of Northern British Columbia