'International Rural Sustainability Workshop'
June 10-11, 2016, Denton, Texas
Organizers: Pankaj Jain and Alicia Re Cruz (U. of North Texas)
The encounter of anthropology with globalization has pointed out the need to open anthropological discourse to non-Western epistemologies. This workshop, held at the University of North Texas, addressed a common global threat to ecosystems. In many parts of the world, villagers are departing from ecologically degraded rural environments for overcrowded urban centers, leaving rural ecosystems vulnerable to further exploitation and degradation. Local NGOs have addressed these conditions, with strategies that have enabled villagers to gain a sustainable income from rural ecosystems. They tell us that rural areas need to be made more productive so that rural people can remain in the forests and maintain them. This requires sustainable village development that protects eco-system services. Organizers invited leaders of NGOs and scholars working in these regions to the workshop to share with one another the strategies that have empowered villagers toward self-reliance, discuss challenges they face, and share their insights. Rural activists and other community members, scholars from Mexico, the USA, India, and beyond presented their own narratives related to the theory and praxis of community-based responses to major global, cultural, and environmental pressures. The workshop's objective was to advance in anthropological theory by a focus on non-Western ways of thinking, doing, and acting upon the repercussions of globalizing pressures in rural areas.