March 7, 2017
Congratulations to Mike Cepek, Associate Professor of Anthropology, who has been awarded a Wenner-Gren Engaged Anthropology Grant titled “Developing a Cofán Protocol for the Conduct of Ethical Research.” This grant will support his fieldwork in Summer 2017.
The abstract is as follows: "On the basis of a series of dialogues with members of four indigenous Cofán communities in Amazonian Ecuador, the proposed project will create a written protocol that Cofán people will be able to use to negotiate equitable and transparent relationships with non-Cofán researchers. The dialogues will build on findings that emerged during a Wenner-Gren-supported project on Cofán relationships with the transnational petroleum industry, which has been extracting oil from Cofán territory for nearly five decades. Through individual interviews and collective community discussions, Dr. Michael Cepek and a team of three Cofán collaborators will investigate Cofán perspectives on the earlier Wenner-Gren project and other academic investigations in which Cofán people have participated. On the basis of the information the team collects, they will compose a draft protocol that lays out Cofán people's central principles, demands, and objectives for any involvements with non-Cofán researchers. After revising the protocol in conversation with Cofán leaders, the team will submit a final version to the Cofán ethnic federation for distribution to Cofán communities, who will be able to use it as the main discussion piece in any negotiations with non-Cofán students and scholars who hope to do research in Cofán territory."
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