ID: 613 / 82

Category: Symposia

Track: Pending


Abstract: The call for decolonizing scientific knowledge is not new. It addresses practices and actions aimed at shifting from Anglo- and Western-European types of knowledge to abolish ongoing systems of oppression. Reflection on decolonization has occurred in various disciplines, including education, human geography, anthropology, and it is emerging in ecology, ethnobiology, and ethnobotany; however, the discussion has yet to become common in botany research. This is surprising since the roots of botany are embedded in colonialism, and botanists have an indisputable relationship with human societies and their natural and cultural heritage and resources. There is still a great division between the researcher and the subject and location of research. Therefore, scholars involved in plant research must be aware of how they continue to act according to western cultural paradigms, and how their actions affect the nations and human communities in which many conduct their research. Efforts should be made to truly understand local contexts; consult and inform local stakeholders, minimize negative impacts, and improve the social aspects of the scientific process. It is essential to avoid perpetuation of stereotypes about local, rural, and indigenous populations; be mindful with the use of language and cartographies; be clear about the sources of funding and who benefits from the results. Research and publications should encourage including minoritized communities and partners from non-western countries, and the objectives and implications of the decolonization process must be addressed expeditiously. In this symposium, we intend to provide an opportunity to speak, debate, rethink, and listen about this topic. People are invited to present their perspectives about, and experiences with, the colonial legacy of research, decolonization and science deconstruction, anti-oppressive practices in botanical research, inclusiveness of different peoples, natural and cultural resources, data and publishing sovereignty, and the role of different stakeholders (communities, scientists, institutions) in the process.

Speaker 1: Ina Vandebroek

Speaker 2: Ana H. Ladio

Speaker 3: Cynthia T. Fowler

Topics (Up to three): Ethnobotany

Topic 2: Botanical History

Topic 3: Education and Outreach

Justification: Scientific research continues to be one of the pathways of colonization, and botanists are often passive or active actors in neocolonial research. Colonialism pervades all branches of botany. Therefore, we think it is imperative that this issue is addressed at an international botanical congress. Botanical history, ethnobotany, phylogeography, education, nomenclature, taxonomy, and all other disciplines are invited to review their impacts in this regard. Moreover, research on science decolonization is still young and dispersed, making it crucial to create a space for people to critically discuss this topic and come together to define future pathways towards a more ethical botany.