Carlos Mondragón is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the Centro de Estudios de Asia y África in El Colegio de México. His first degree was a BA in History, awarded in 1996 by the National University of Mexico, but he went on to develop a career in Social Anthropology, with an MA from the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London) and a PhD from the University of Cambridge (2003).
His research interests have focused on the production of knowledge, with special reference to environmental knowledge practices and local historicities. Consequently, he is also interested in the contrasts of different epistemologies in relation to both anthropological theory and methods as well as contexts of intercultural entanglements. This explains his ongoing interest in the study of histories of culture contact, as well as time systems (local calendars) and indigenous regimes of historicity. His principal region of expertise is Oceania, with a focus on the islands of Vanuatu and more recently on Timor-Leste. He also carried out postdoctoral field research on environmental sustainability of nomad communities in Tibet, on the border of the Tibet Autonomous Region (China) with northern Nepal.
During the past eight years he has been involved in ongoing activities, conferences and workshops with UNESCO in Paris and New Zealand in relation to indigenous environmental knowledge and climate policies. His most recent work is directed at issues of climate change, climate policy and local perceptions of environmental change in Vanuatu. In addition, his work in Timor is part of a larger, ongoing project regarding seasonal calendrical rituals funded by National Geographic Expeditions, and it includes a multidisciplinary team of marine biologists, underwater photographers and local conservation activists from Brazil, Australia, the United States and Germany.
When he is not involved teaching about Political Ecology or Historical Anthropology, Mondragón enjoys amateur astronomy, hiking, and tabletop games.
Indigenous and Scientific knowledge systems: epistemological challenges in relation to the environment.
Dans le cadre du séminaire d’Alban Bensa et Thierry Bonnot: Du récit vernaculaire à la narration anthropologique
- Mercredi 3 avril 2019 de 11 h à 13 h — EHESS, salle 7, 105 bd Raspail 75006 Paris
The purpose of this seminar is to present an overview of readings on the current state of research and applied efforts regarding indigenous and scientific knowledge systems and their mutual relations. The principal objective is to explore the ways in which different communities, scientific and indigenous, can or cannot co-produce, define, and employ knowledge of the climate and environment in different places and circumstances. This is currently a key issue in relation to climate policy in regional and international contexts, and is an emerging field of research and applied strategies.
Climate Policies and Climate Realities in Vanuatu: A critical overview of the past twenty years
Dans le cadre du séminaire du Credo organisé par Lorenzo Brutti, Anne Di Piazza, Diego Muñoz
- Vendredi 5 avril 2019 de 14h à 16h30 — Campus St Charles, 3 Place Victor Hugo, 13003 Marseille - Espace Yves Mathieu (bâtiment LSH) - Salle LSH 207
Climate policy, advocacy, and rhetoric have become a dominant feature of official Vanuatu government structures (bureaucracy), policies, and interventions over the past twenty years. On one hand, this reflects the rising international concern about climate change, and is not surprising, given the well-known vulnerability of Vanuatu to extreme climate events –earthquakes, cyclones, tsunamis. However, while ‘indigenous knowledge’ is celebrated in government rhetoric, there is almost no serious approach to local practices and values. In contrast, the priority has increasingly focused on ‘climate finance’, awareness-raising, and international advocacy – which are activities exclusive to the growing climate bureaucracy of Vanuatu. In this presentation I review those developments and contrast them with local ethnographic cases which point to a much more complex and positive horizon of climate knowledges, practices and adaptive capacities in the relation to climate change. I argue that we, as scholars and privileged analysts of local realities, have a responsibility to make this complexity visible and relevant.
Rethinking Territory and Society in the era of Climate Change: Notes from a small island context
Dans le cadre du séminaire de Sandrine Robert : Le paysage comme trace : un laboratoire pour le concept de résilience
- Vendredi 12 avril, 15 h à 17h — EHESS, salle 5, 105 bd Raspail 75006 Paris
The urgency of climate change as a priority subject for human-environmental relations imposes new methodological and theoretical challenges. In this paper I want to problematize approaches to territory and society through a discussion of local and technocratic knowledge regimes in relation to climate change. My ethnographic research is based in Oceania, in a small island context: the Torres Islands of Vanuatu, which are defined by the international community as ‘climate frontlines’, places which are already suffering the worst effects of climate change. I will discuss 1) the very rapid development of climate bureaucracies and policy interventions in Vanuatu over the past twenty years, and 2) the rising recognition of ‘indigenous’ or local knowledge for policy design. I argue, however, that the rhetoric of indigenous knowledge continues to be subordinated to technocratic ideas about climate, territory and social relations that do not reflect local forms of relating to the environment, or the social relations of adaptation that people deploy. As an alternative, I offer different ways of thinking about territory and society that might help to change the nature of our discussions and priorities regarding climate change.
Anticipating Catastrophe, Producing New Worlds: Environmental Policy and Indigenous Knowledge in the 21st Century
Dans le cadre du Séminaire international des anthropologues organisé par Olivier Allard et Marie-Aude Fouéré
- Mercredi 17 avril de 15 h à 17 h — EHESS, amphithéâtre François-Furet, 105 bd Raspail 75006 Paris
This conference will offer an overview of the relationship between the anthropological study of local knowledge, indigenous worlds, and climate policy over the past thirty years. First, it will map the broad trends that have defined this relationship, and second it will argue that the nature of climate change, of the environment and of alterity (indigeneity) has itself changed in the process. In the final years of the 20th century there were two processes that framed environmental anthropology and climate policy design: 1) the radical critique of the nature-culture divide (Descola, Latour, Viveiros De Castro, Hviding, Sahlins, and others), which forced new theories and concepts for approaching the lifeworlds of other peoples, and 2) the recognition that climate policy was the same as development policy – it did not take indigenous and local knowledge seriously. These two processes became entangled with a 3rd trend: the increasing public and political awareness of the threat of global warming. Over the years, these three factors have combined to produce an anthropology of climate change and a renewed anthropology of indigenous knowledge which have a powerful effect on our production of the world and the planet. The argument I will offer is that we do not inhabit in the Anthropocene, so much as we are producing it: climate change will not change the world, because we have been changing the world in response to how we imagine climate change.
Carlos Mondragon sera également discutant de la séance du séminaire de la Formation a la Recherche dans les Aires Océanienne (FRAO) consacrée à Rodolfo Maggio (Waseda University, Tokyo) :
« Japanese Ethnographies of the Pacific: historical, geographical and thematic coordinates »
- Mercredi 3 Avril de 15h à 17h — EHESS, salle 7, 105 bd Raspail 75006 Paris