A place called Sur
“When the people looses the control, the use, and the management of its ancestral land, the ones who lose more are new generations because they won’t have space to learn about themselves and the practice of their cultural difference” Zenon
For the French-born, Chile based theorist, Nelly Richard, to think in place could be expressed as a reactive fear against the metanarratives, against the stability a coherence that protected identities and homogeneous traditions delimited under the national banner. Place—as a defensive response versus the global erasure of borders—becomes a nostalgic haven for the purity of originary cultures, endangered by the polluting forces of global capitalism. (Richard: 2009) Likewise, place could be understood, not as the natural evolution of an original territoriality but more like a situated difference, a difference with a tactical location that intervenes the geographies of power, that is to say, the maps of institutions and metropolitan circuits that administrate the value of “cultural diversity”. Place, therefore, becomes a tactical positioning, in tension between the globalizing forces, and micro-differenced folds, stratifications or irregular zones. According to Richard, practices of artistic and cultural intervention become local in the global map rescuing the textures of historic and social experience in its specific context.
Richard proposes the concept-metaphor of Sur (or South) as a tactical maneuver for the potent enuntiative and performative category of “diference” that challenges the system.
“Sur” is a line of ambiguity that drives the Latin American to not give up to contrast is sub-local differences with the metropolitan-multicultural equivalences, while at the same time, does not trust of a romantic view of difference through exotism and folklorization.” Likewise, Richard recovers from Appadurai the idea that place is more relational and contextual instead of a mere issue of space or scale.
Oral practices and place
The dialogue between Catherine Walsh and Juan Garcia Salazar has allowed a better understanding of the significance of oral tradition in the Afro Andean world. (Walsh: 2006) The main source of knowledge about the histories and thought of peoples of African origin ancestrally settled in Ecuador and the Andean region for almost 500 years continue to be oral, part of the lived experience of communities and their collective memory. But more that “sources” a concept associated with the Eurocentric logic of research and the academy, Afro peoples’ knowledges represent and construct logics and ways of thinking and acting that find their base, in part, in ancestral memory, in ancestrality as it is lived today among Afro peoples in the countries of the Andean region.
“When is said how much we have lost as afro Ecuadorian peoples, few mention the intangible assets, few remember that cultural assets, especially those that cannot be seen, are those that shape and configure ancestral...