Understanding Place-based Epistemologies

Foundation 1: Understanding Place-based Epistemologies


Overview of Foundation 1

Place-based epistemologies center knowledge that values the meaning of space, place, and land. We recognize that each community and individual carries complex understandings of space, place, and land. However, we often forget to engage a place-based sensibility when engaging in higher education scholarship. This foundational section focuses on introducing place-based scholarship for new and returning learners.


Scholarly Engagements: Place-Based Epistemologies


Dias, V. (2016). In the wake of Matapang’s canoe: The cultural and political possibilities of Indigenous discursive flourish. In A. M. Robinson (Ed.), Critical Indigenous studies: Engagements in first world locations (pp. 119-149). University of Arizona Press. Available at: https://www.academia.edu/37015731/Diaz_2016_In_the_Wake_of_Matapangs_Canoe_

Spoon, J., & Arnold, R. (2012). Collaborative research and co-learning: Integrating Nuwuvi (Southern Paiute) ecological knowledge and spirituality to revitalize a fragmented land. Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature & Culture, 6(4). Available at: https://journal.equinoxpub.com/JSRNC/article/view/4658

Wildcat, M., McDonald, M., Irlbacher-Fox, S., & Coulthard, G. (2014). Learning from the land: Indigenousland based pedagogy and decolonization. Decolonization: Indigeneity, education, society, 3(3), 1-25. Available at: https://jps.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/des/article/view/22248/18062

Editorial: Of Deserts and Decolonization: Dispelling Myths About Drylands

Video: Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Integrating Western Sciences into Indigenous Knowledge Systems


Reflection Questions

  • How do we understand place?
  • What does it mean to be in relationship with place?
  • How do we engage with place as visitors?
  • How do we engage with place responsibly and respectfully?

Additional Resources

Goodison, L. (2010). From Harvey River: A memoir of my mother and her island. Atlantic Books Ltd.

Ingersoll, K. A. (2016). Waves of knowing: A seascape epistemology. Duke University Press.

Kanahele, P. (2005). I am this land, and this land is me. Hūlili: Multidisciplinary Research on Hawaiian Well-Being, 2(1), 21-34.

Kimmerer, R. W. (2013). Braiding sweet grass: Indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and the teachings of plants. Milkweed Editions.

McCoy, K., Tuck, E., & McKenzie, M. (Eds.). (2017). Land education: Rethinking pedagogies of place from Indigenous, postcolonial, and decolonizing perspectives. Routledge.

Negrón-Muntaner, F. (2006). Bridging islands: Gloria Anzaldúa and the Caribbean. PMLA, 121(1), 272-278.


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