Weaving Chakanas: Methodological bridges for enactive research

A Development Research seminar with Dr Victoria Vargas-Downing
Dr Victoria Vargas-Downing
Monday 8 Apr 2024, 16:15 - 17:30
Spoken Language
Room 4.39
International Institute of Social Studies
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Victoria Vargas Downing

The Chakana or Andean cross is a pan-American symbol, it comes from the word chaka which means bridge or dam. It is a crossed path, a mountain, the in-between that connects the cardinal points and the stairs that connect the cosmos, the sky and the underworld. 

The Chakana is characterized by creating bridges that connect different traditions, times and places. It is the place where time-space (Pacha) create each other; donde las ideas se cruzan entramando saberes y develando patrones. The Chakana, is concerned with relationalities, reciprocities, complementarities, oppositions and cyclicality. 

From a decolonial approach, Vargas-Downing contours methodological Chakanas to activate movimientos y momentos de tensión, ambivalencia y precariedad of different but coexisting conflictual strands. 

Through methodological and metaphorical Chakanas she bridges the multiple dimensions of the study, arguing for mutual constitution, reflecting and enacting non-western ontologies. Its aim is to challenge colonial designs, linear configurations and binary options. T

The chakanitas she will introduce appear as structures organized by different features, opening and contouring topics and working in non-linear ways. From a decolonial framework, they address researching epistemology and ontology as an enactive reflection on content and form and dominant institutional structures and practices. While, as methodology they invite the reader to be open to other forms of knowledges, to rebalance voices y silencios, to sow semillas decoloniales

They work as a call to be active, to embrace discomfort and trust an ambivalent and precarious path, where tension is productive to work and think through.

 About the speaker

Dr Victoria Vargas-Downing is a Chilean feminist art historian and heritage researcher based in the UK. She holds a PhD from the University of Leeds where she currently works as Engagement Fellow for Moving Mountains, and Research assistant for 'Artivist Crossings: approaches to climate justice between Leeds and Buenos Aires'

She is one of the coordinators of the Early Career Researchers Network and the Latin American chapter of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies, and also chair of the Ventana Conference on Decolonisation. She is interested in the relationship between contemporary art and heritage from decolonial perspectives.

More information

The Development Research seminars present cutting-edge research on development studies by noted scholars from around the world. The Series aims to stimulate critical discussion about contemporary development issues.

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