The UAF Department of Anthropology is hosting a public lecture by Jennifer Hays, a professor of social anthropology at the University of Tromsø (UiT) – the Arctic University of Norway.
‘It’s how we get food, and it’s who we are’
Hunter-gatherer food systems and education in a changing world
Thursday, February 8th, 2024
Bunnell Building, Room 302 (Zoom option available)
3 p.m. – 5 p.m. AKST
This presentation explores the relationship between formal education, food systems, and land rights for contemporary hunter-gatherers, through an ethnographic case study of the Nyae Nyae Ju/’hoansi of Namibia. The Ju/’hoansi are one of anthropology’s classic cases and most studied peoples; they are also the targets of numerous development projects, including an innovative mother tongue education project. They are the only hunter-gatherer community in all of Africa to have extensive rights over their own wildlife and plant resources.
Despite the attention they receive, and many apparent advantages compared with other, similar groups, the lifeways of the Ju/’hoansi face several serious threats. These include land loss and encroachment onto their remaining territory, stigma and denigration of their culture, and assimilative social institutions (including formal education) – challenges that they share with virtually all contemporary hunter-gather communities on the earth today.
At the same time, it is increasingly understood at the global level that Indigenous knowledge systems could provide important resources for addressing several rapidly accelerating global crises, including food security.
Could a global recognition of the potential contribution of knowledge systems of small-scale communities such as the Ju/’hoansi provide a compelling argument for their rights to maintain access to their land and resources, and to develop their own education systems? How do the Ju/’hoansi themselves understand these dynamics? Based on recent and ongoing ethnographic fieldwork with the Nyae Nyae community and work with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO, based in Rome), this paper presents empirical data and explores these challenging questions.
If you are not able to join us in person, consider joining the conversation online via Zoom at the date and time of the event: https://alaska.zoom.us/j/89608012654
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