- Prince George
Marieka Sax is a sociocultural anthropologist whose work has two recurrent and interrelated themes. The first is Indigenous worldviews, ways of knowing, and modes of getting things done, specifically in the Andean cultural area of Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. The second is an overarching focus on equity and justice for marginalized populations, including but not limited to Indigenous peoples.
Marieka's current research investigates the social impacts of the “buzz phase” of liquefied natural gas (LNG) development in British Columbia, with a focus on how different people differently experience the positive and negative impacts of the LNG Canada terminal under construction in Kitimat. Due to COVID-19, Marieka carried out a series of online arts-based workshops in collaboration with Tamitik Status of Women, a Kitimat-based non-profit organization. This research is funded by a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship and a SSHRC Insight Development Grant, the latter of which Marieka holds with Dr. Daniel Tubb at the University of New Brunswick. For more information about this project, visit http://www.resource-buzz.ca/.
Marieka's previous research, based on a combined three years of SSHRC-funded ethnographic fieldwork in Peru, focuses on Andean worldviews and their application in practice. In the northern Peruvian community of Cañaris, Marieka investigated the dual practice of healing and witchcraft called sorcery (brujería, curanderismo). Sorcery provides a means to account for and respond to the unequal distribution of fortune and suffering. Sometimes this has to do with an individual’s relationships with non-human entities embodied in the local landscape, and sometimes it has more to do with their relationships with fellow community members. As such, sorcery provides an entry point to understanding Andean cosmologies, ontologies, and epistemologies, as well as issues related to trust, jealousy, and conflict at the micro-political scale. This built on Marieka's earlier work in central Peru on the role of mountain spirits in agricultural production, healing, and well-being.
Marieka's next project focuses on Andean notions of the good life/good living (buen vivir; sumak kawsay) and its uptake in political discourse and legislation in the context of Latin American neoextractivism (e.g., Ecuador’s 2008 Constitution). Marieka is specifically interested in social and political mobilizations coming from civil society that use the frame of buen vivir to advance the rights of Indigenous peoples and the rights of nature.
Research and Expertise
Resource extraction; indigenous-settler relations; gender and intersectionality; rural livelihoods; traditional medicine; qualitative research methods; Peru; northern BC
Supervisor: Dr. Catherine NolinResearch Fields:
Sacred landscapes, Resource extraction, Indigenous worldviews and ways of knowing, Intersectionality, Ethnography of the Andes, Latin American and Caribbean StudiesLanguages Spoken:
2021. Sax, Marieka and Daniel Tubb. The buzz phase of resource extraction: Liquefied natural gas in Kitimat, British Columbia. The Extractive Industries and Society 8(3): 100938.
2019. Buse CG, Sax M, Nowak N, Jackson J, Fresco T, Fyfe T, Halseth G. Locating community impacts of unconventional natural gas across the supply chain: A scoping review. The Extractive Industries and Society 6(2): 620-629. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exis.2019.03.002
2018. “Southern Sacrifice and Northern Sorcery: Mountain Spirits and Encantos in the Peruvian Andes,” pp. 97-125 in Non-Humans in Amerindian South America: Ethnographies of Indigenous Cosmologies, Rituals and Songs, ed. Juan Javier Rivera Andía. New York & Oxford: Berghahn Books.
2018. “The hanging of the Devil: mitigating vulnerability to evil in Cañaris,” pp. 289-298 in Cañaris: Etnografías y documentos de la sierra norte del Perú [Cañaris: Ethnographies and documents from the northern Peruvian highlands], ed. Juan Javier Rivera Andía. Buenos Aires: Asociación Civil Rumbo Sur.