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Durham University

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Towards an engaged anthropology: Advancing methodological approaches to indigenous knowledge research and community well-being

A research project of the Department of Anthropology, part of the Anthropology in Development research group.


In this project Dr Serena Heckler in partnership with Professor Paul Sillitoe will carry out research into the indigenous knowledge of the Shuar of Ecuador in a manner that aims to be useful and beneficial to these people, as directly informed by their aspirations and conducted in collaboration with the Intercultural University of Indigenous Nations and Peoples of Ecuador-Amawtay Wasi. While eliciting and documenting diverse Shuar indigenous knowledge narratives and praxis, they seek to advance a methodological toolkit for an engaged anthropology using methods adapted from indigenous knowledge research.

The partnership will enable them to draw on their diverse training and geographical experience to develop and disseminate new participatory methods related to indigenous knowledge research.

Published Results

Journal Article

  • Heckler, S.L. & Zent, S.R. (2008). Piaroa Manioc varietals: Hyperdiversity or social currency? Human Ecology 36(5): 679-697.


From the Department of Anthropology