MAPS in Theory and Practice with Kenza Benabderrazik and Jose Cáceres Mardones

Wintersemester 2021

9.12.2021 and 23.12.2021 from 12h to 16h

Universität / Haute École
Kenza Benabderrazik and Jose Cáceres Mardones
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Content description

Decolonizing Nature. Knowledges, Practices and Questions
Kenza Benabderrazik, Jose Cáceres Mardones


The seminar will look at the concept of “nature” from a decolonial perspective. “Nature” is part of one of the most significant divides of Western thought: nature/culture. This dichotomy has shaped human thinking and knowledge since antiquity. Moreover, it has separated two realms of life, the human and the nonhuman, that are closely entangled - more precisely would be to say: “Nature” has been excluded, marginalized and subjugated by the human. This idea of “nature” has become part of a hegemonic (anthropocentric and colonial) narrative that has allowed Western powers to transform “nature” into a resource, subordinated to human use - nowadays, we are more aware of the climatic consequences that such colonial endeavour has brought into us.

The seminar aims to problematise these complex constellations from our common decolonial practice in history, agroecology and the arts. Facing climate change, activists, researchers, artists and indigenous communities have demanded a necessary reconsideration of the western idea of “nature”. How can we question this dichotomy from our disciplines that are actually grounded on the dichotomy itself? How can decolonial practice become a tool for transcidiplinary work? Which role can play artistic research and practice at decolonization of “nature”?



Jose Cáceres is a historian and independent curator engaged in decolonial practice and critical pedagogy. He is a lecturer and researcher at the University of Zurich, investigating indigenous thinking about nature and history towards a transcultural and post-anthropocentric idea of history. His curatorial practice lies on collective praxis and a necessary transformative urgency which he explores in the intersection between nature, history and decoloniality. Recent projects include “Walmapu ex situ” (since 2020) in collaboration with the collective “Trop cher to share”, the exhibition “A Forest of Many Worlds” (2021). 


Kenza Benabderrazik is a researcher, lecturer and outreach project coordinator at the Sustainable Agroecosystems group in ETH Zürich. For her doctoral research, Kenza studied the interplays between agricultural production, farmers’ economic welfare and ecological preservation. She looked in particular at the resilience of tomato producers in face of climate change in Ghana and Morocco. For 4 years, she worked as an environmental consultant, on various projects related to environmental impact assessment, resource efficiency and circular economy. Along the teaching activities, Kenza coordinates art-​science projects to open and foster dialogues between artists, scientists and various actors of the food systems towards agroecological transitions.



Kenza Benabderrazik, Soil Silence, in: Mobile Soils

Jose Cáceres Mardones, The Soils of History: Reflections on Landscape, Body and Past

Johanna Jacobi et. al., Towards political ecologies of food

Christopher H. Trisos et. al., Decoloniality and anti-ecological practices for more ethical ecology

T.J. Demos,  Decolonizing Nature, Ch. The Art and Politics of Sustainability

Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Cannibal Metaphysics, Ch. Multinaturalism

Jessica Horton, Beyond the Mirror Indigenous Ecologies and ‘New Materialisms’ in Contemporary Art


The seminar takes place online