Studying Indigenous Brazil: Moral Economies of Research in A'uwe-Xavante Territory

Project: Research project

Project Details


At a moment when Indigenous groups increasingly reject outsiders' proposals to research them, this project examines how and why some A'uwe-Xavante communities in Central Brazil embrace scholarship. Through a historical case study of sixty years of genetics, anthropology, and public health fieldwork, this project argues that A'uwe-Xavante have developed relationships with researchers as a political strategy in the face of Brazilian colonial expansion. In the process they have shaped the scholars and academic disciplines that study them. This project offers a nuanced approach to the ambivalent role of science under settler colonialism, exploring how expertise intersects with colonial and Indigenous interests in messy, uneven ways. It also combines ethnographic and historical methods through the collaborative construction of a digital archive of scientific objects. This work with four A'uwẽ-Xavante communities is an exploration of how 'relationally based ethics' can lead to better knowledge making in both history of science and the fields we study.
Effective start/end date1/1/21 → …


  • American Council of Learned Societies


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