An Ecology of Knowledges

Fear, Love, and Technoscience in Guatemalan Forest Conservation

Book Pages: 336 Illustrations: 28 illustrations, incl. 8 in color Published: May 2020

Author: Micha Rahder

Anthropology > Cultural Anthropology, Environmental Studies, Latin American Studies > Central America

Guatemala's Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR), the largest protected area in Central America, is characterized by rampant violence, social and ethnic inequality, and rapid deforestation. Faced with these threats, local residents, conservationists, scientists, and NGOs in the region work within what Micha Rahder calls “an ecology of knowledges,” in which interventions on the MBR landscape are tied to differing and sometimes competing forms of knowing. In this book, Rahder examines how technoscience, endemic violence, and an embodied love of wild species and places shape conservation practices in Guatemala. Rahder highlights how different forms of environmental knowledge emerge from encounters and relations between humans and nonhumans, institutions and local actors, and how situated ways of knowing impact conservation practices and natural places, often in unexpected and unintended ways. In so doing, she opens up new ways of thinking about the complexities of environmental knowledge and conservation in the context of instability, inequality, and violence around the world.


An Ecology of Knowledges is replete with intriguing ethnographic material located at the crossroads of histories of violence and practices of conservation. Its themes and depictions of the problematic relation between state, ecology, globalization, and violence—along with its siting in a globally recognized ecological zone—are all extremely compelling features that will appeal to scholars and students, NGO workers, conservation officials, and even governmental organizations.” — Marisol de la Cadena, author of Earth Beings: Ecologies of Practice across Andean Worlds

“This exceptionally well-written book details the complex interactions between people, nonhuman animals, organizations, and interests as they converge in Guatemala's Maya Biosphere. Micha Rahder's strongly grounded and fine-grained research reveals how conservation organizations work and how knowledge and uncertainty about nature, population, wildness, and frontiers operate. Although it charts a conservation failure, An Ecology of Knowledges is really about success: how people learn from process, create conservation consciousness and enact deep care.” — Diane M. Nelson, author of Who Counts? The Mathematics of Death and Life after Genocide


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Price: $27.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Micha Rahder is an independent scholar in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Table of Contents Back to Top
List of Abbreviations  ix
Acknowledgements  xii
Introduction. What on Earth Is a Nooscape?  1
Learning How to See  10
1. The Many Worlds of the Maya Biosphere Reserve  13
Silences of Memory  32
I. Double Visions: Technoscience and Paranoia
2. Eye of the Storm  37
Corrupted Data  57
3. Mapping Gobernabilidad  59
Gender and Violence  92
4. But Is It a Basin?  94
Peteneros and Other Endemic Species  116
II. Patchiness and Fragmentation
5. A Reserve Full of Rooftops  121
Parks, Poverty, People  152
6. Fire at the Edge of the Forest  155
Death of a Dog  185
III. Composing and Composting Knowledges
7. A Known Place  189
Certainty Emerges  216
Apocalypse Soon!  245
9. Nine / Redd+Queen Futures  247
Modest Interventions  265
Afterword  268
Notes  273
References  287
Index  303
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0691-6 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0610-7