Knowing the Day, Knowing the World
Engaging Amerindian Thought in Public Archaeology
The structure of the book reflects a gradual comprehension of Palikur ways of knowing during the course of field research. The text enters into the ethnographic material from the perspective of familiar disciplines—history, geography, astronomy, geometry, and philosophy—and explores the junctures in which conventional disciplinary frameworks cannot adequately convey Palikur understandings. Beginning with reflections on questions of personhood, ethics, and ethnicity, the authors rethink assumptions about history and geography. They learn and recount an alternative way of thinking about astronomy from the Palikur astronomical narratives, and they show how topological concepts embedded in everyday Palikur speech extend to different ways of conceptualizing landscape. In conclusion, they reflect on the challenges of comprehending alternative cosmologies and consider the insights that come from allowing ethnographic material to pose questions of modernist frameworks.
“Lesley and David Green write how distress and wonder drew them into another kind of archaeology among the Palikur of Brazil. Palikur knowledge as movement led them to conceptualize archaeology as ‘reading the tracks of the ancestors.’”—Archaeological Dialogues
“A radical exercise in un-disciplining archaeology, an exquisitely written alternative to modernity.”—Cristobal Gnecco, co-editor of Archaeologies
“Knowing the Day will change the way you think. Deeply theoretical while intensely personal, Knowing the Day shows what happens when Western assumptions of universal reasoning encounter different epistemological systems. As the chapters take you deeper into the thought-world of the Amazon, your own concepts of perception, identity, language and the constitution of knowledge begin to change. By the end of this journey, the hubris of key elements of conventional western thinking are painfully apparent.”—Martin Hall, Vice Chancellor of the University of Salford and Former President of the World Archaeological Congress
“Through Lesley Green’s superb, thoughtful and moving discovery of an ‘ecology of predators’ we may well learn, together with her, that the most dangerous beings are the ones who feel at home everywhere, serving some universal cause and thus not knowing where they are.”—Isabelle Stengers, author of Cosmopolitics