Theses Doctoral

Educating in Garladeros: Assembling Literacies, Peasantries, and Sorrows in the Páramo of Sumapaz

Rudas Burgos, Daniel

Inhabitants of Sumapaz, a mountainous and underpopulated region in the Colombian Eastern Highlands, have been engaged in a longstanding history of social organization for defending their rights as peasants, and protecting themselves from violent processes that endanger their ways of living and their lives. Educational and literacy practices have been an important part of their organization. However, these practices are frequently undervalued or erased because of ideologies that portray peasants as violent, ignorant, and illiterate, or that define them only based on specific forms of production.

Based on ethnographic methods, and a reflective and recursive approach, this study reveals specific instances of these ideologies in sources such as stories, films, papers, and speech acts. These sources are interpreted as traceable utterances of specific prejudices that interact with each other. Aiming to reveal literacy and educational practices that go beyond prejudice, the researcher engaged in about one year of participant observation focused on one family and their consociates. Accounts collected during this fieldwork are presented as a journey in which ethnographic vignettes dialogue with a theoretical exploration.

Based on this journey, and drawing on theories from Literacy Studies, Glottopolitics, and Anthropology and Education, this study proposes that literacies are a constant becoming of pluralistic repertoires of ways of writing, not necessarily tied to standardized languages. The inhabitants of Sumapaz with whom this study was conducted created organizations, and kept maintaining and challenging them, in a process that can be interpreted as educative in the sense that, in the face of uncertainty and while carrying many sorrows, they assembled actors and sequences in complex dynamics of instruction and deliberation. These dynamics include their environment (páramos), social categories they self-identify with (peasantries), and their constant becoming of ways of writing (literacies).

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Anthropology and Education
Thesis Advisors
Varenne, Herve H.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
June 22, 2022