Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Carlos Fausto • Could manioc have been a root of the State? On an Amazonian Economy of Grandeur

Carlos Fausto An Economy of Grandeur in Amazonia

Thursday, April 4, 2024

4:00-5:00 p.m.

Rhode Island Hall, 108
60 George St.

Our apologies: The livestream for this event has been canceled. We look forward to seeing you in person.

About the Event
Manioc was domesticated some 8,000 years ago in southwest Amazonia and has since become the staple food of the region's indigenous peoplesSince colonial times, Europeans have viewed it with suspicion, opposing it to grains. One Jesuit priest even proposed uprooting all manioc and replacing it with wheat. More recently, tubers and tuberous roots, characteristic of tropical agriculture, have been associated with political decentralization and the absence of the state. They would be state-evading crops. In this talk, Dr. Fausto will investigate this idea using ethnographic and archaeological data from an indigenous Amazonian society, whose political-ritual economy revolves around chiefs and their grandeur.

About the Speaker
Carlos Fausto is a Professor of Anthropology at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and a Global Scholar at Princeton University. He has conducted fieldwork among Amazonian people since 1988. Among other books, he published Warfare and Shamanism in Amazonia (2012) and Art Effects: Image, Agency and Ritual in Amazonia (2020). He is the co-director of the feature film The Hyperwomen.