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Documenting Wa (lawa) Plants and Herbs for Food and Medicine in awa mountains
Documenting Wa (lawa) Plants and Herbs for Food and Medicine in Awa MountainsReport Authors: BAI Zhihong & CHEN XueliInstitution: Yunnan UniversityEmail: email@example.com
• to document edible parts of plants and fruits in the natural habitats of the Wa people in China along the Sino- Myanmar border in digital format.• to incorporate the research process as well as research outcomes into the teaching of undergraduate and MA students and database construction at the University.• to build capacity by involving Wa women whose role in feeding their families and communities have rarely been acknowledged.• to raise awareness of the value of Wa local knowledge among university students, local government officials and ordinary villagers, especially those who have been misguided by an evolutionary paradigm and ethnocentric ideology.
• Pre-fieldwork training, discussing topics & methods for data collection.• 12 students (5 MA) involved in different trips in 7 villages; 5 local doctors involved;• available plants were quite similar; yet differences were huge;• data collected is currently integrated into the teaching of undergraduate students in two courses: Anthropological Theories (for anthropology majors), and Anthropology and Modern Life (for non-anthropology majors) .
Expected outcomes• a colored booklet and CDs (in process);• add teaching and learning materials to Yunnan University library and the digital database of the research school (in process);• hopefully, used as ex-curriculum materials in primary schools and high schools in these three counties
Outcomes attained• a process of teaching and learning by participating into lived experiences and affirming LK during the data-collection process;• empowering students and strengthening confidence in traditional culture and LK in Wa communities to some degree;• enriching teaching resources in classrooms
Classroom teaching• Anthropological Theories (anthro undergrad. majors) Structuralism: indigenous taxonomy Gender Studies: women’s role• Anthropology and Modern Life (non-anthro undergrad. majors) Structuralism: indigenous taxonomy Gender Studies: women’s role Anthro and Environment• Gender studies for anthro-major MA students
Fieldwork: coursework & in the field• Classroom teaching: Fieldwork methodology (both undergrad. & postgrad.)• In the field
• Getting foot in the village was an eye-opening experience; focusing on plants and herbs but• multiple fieldwork trips were essential;• our interest in LK and our interview itself raised awareness and promoted self-confidence among LK holders whether old or young;• shrinking bio-diversity due to mass production of cash crops was overwhelming;• further research was needed, in particular, to develop methodological strategies to overcome social constrains and data limitations;
• limited expertise in healing ailments;• traditional healers welcome us as patients/clients, but not researchers.• conflicting names and usages• ordinary villages who can be important LK holders;• language barrier and availability of Wa women