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U k’éext’aanil tesarrooyo: A Maya scholar’s reflections on translating the development encounter

Date : Mar 07, 2023
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A talk by Dr. Genner Llanes-Ortiz (Bishop’s University)
In this talk, Yucatec Maya scholar Dr. Genner Llanes-Ortiz (Bishop’s University) reflects about challenges and lessons learned during his involvement as an intercultural facilitator and researcher working with Non-Governmental Organizations and Maya local organizations and promoters in his home region, the Yucatan peninsula. One of the key concepts at the center of what these social actors did was “sustainable development”, a notion that invokes questions of “environment”, “rights” and “management”, as well as “training”, “organization” and “decision-making” among others. Could these ideas be smoothly translated into Yucatec Maya? And, if so, how? The local groups and NGOs working around these challenges later embarked on an educational project in which intercultural dialog was considered the stepping stone to support Maya communities’ self-determination. Thus, translating knowledges for this dialog became a central concern for this network of development practitioners. In reflecting about these processes, Dr. Llanes-Ortiz considers the possibilities and limits of translation within what Arturo Escobar’s seminal work characterized as the “development encounter” in the 1990s.
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