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Plant Knowledges: Indigenous Approaches and Interspecies Listening Toward Decolonizing Ayahuasca Research

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Abstract

The ayahuasca research community is familiar with the concept of plant intelligences; however, they have yet to be adequately accounted for by commonly used research practices. This chapter is a call to examine the ontological and epistemological assumptions that underlie research practices and how these practices and assumptions may reinforce hierarchies of knowledge and animacy. The first part of this chapter describes some absences created by following a “methods as usual” approach when researching ayahuasca, based on ethnographic fieldwork at the World Ayahuasca Conference in 2016 (AYA2016). This highlights the need for researchers to acknowledge the methodological, disciplinary, and identity-based limitations on our abilities to produce and represent certain knowledges. Secondly, this chapter is a call to seriously and humbly engage with Indigenous sciences and epistemologies. This requires an honest reckoning with how research has contributed to colonial appropriation and marginalization of Indigenous knowledges. Indigenous ways of knowing have precedent for collaborating with teacher plants in producing knowledge and have much to contribute to discourse on multispecies perspectives. Lastly, I discuss possibilities for including multispecies sensibilities and Indigenous standpoints in research practices to create more collaborative and decolonial knowledges.

Dev, L. (2018). Plant Knowledges: Indigenous Approaches and Interspecies Listening Toward Decolonizing Ayahuasca Research. Plant Medicines, Healing and Psychedelic Science: Cultural Perspectives, 185-204. 10.1007/978-3-319-76720-8_11
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