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Frederique Apffel-Marglin is professor of anthropology at Smith College. She has written two books and co-edited five more books. A MacArthur grant has enabled her to direct a project called "Centers for Mutual Learning." It is in the context of this project that she began collaboration with the native Andean grassroots organization PRATEC. A first book co-edited with PRATEC will appear soon entitled The Spirit of Regeneration: Andean Culture Confronting Western Notions of Development(London: Zed Books).

Abstract of paper given at Hinduism and Ecology conference:
Sacred Plants and Forests: Lessons from the Ramayana

Frederique Apffel-Marglin and Pramod Parajuli
The events of the Ramayana spanned the major ecosystems of India, which will be summarized in this presentation. The Ramayana mentions by name a large variety of plants (over 200 species), although the scientific identities of some are controversial. The plants are primarily (1) limited to the central and northern portions of the subcontinent; (2) important for medicinal and economic uses; (3) important as sacred plants today, and mentioned in other sacred texts. These descriptions of plants and forests tell us much about classical attitudes toward nature, and the Ramayana still may influence these attitudes in India and other areas of tropical Asia.

Abstract of paper given at Indigenous Traditions and Ecology conference:
Andean Cosmovision, Biodiversity, and Regneration


Julio Valladolid and Frederique Apffel-Marglin

In the written version of the paper prepared for this panel Frederique Apffel-Marglin introduces the work of PRATEC, the grassroots NGO to which Julio Valladolid belongs and with which she has collaborated since 1994. She also makes a theoretical argument for the kind of knowledge used by PRATEC and for their rejection of professional academic conceptual tools; to save time this will not be summarized at the panel to allow for translation time. Julio Valladolid will introduce his remarks on "Andean Cosmovision, Biodiversity and Regeneration" with slides and reflections on why he abandoned the practice of plant genetics in particular and science in general. He will then give a brief overview of the Andean cosmovision and how it is lived by peasants today and why it continues to generate such a great variety of cultivars.


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