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The term Epistemicide was developed by the Portuguese sociologist Boaventura de Sousa Santos in his book Epistemologies of the South: Justice Against Epistemicide. Epistemicide refers to the destruction of existing knowledge. It is used within the context of colonisation which has brought violence against humans but also involved violence against indigenous knowledge of the natural world.

In South America, for indigenous cosmologies, human agriculture was balanced with the needs of nature, many societies had complex systems of agro-ecology involving religious, and cultural values such as the Milpa in Mexico or the Waru Waru in Peru. This techniques were abandoned during the Spanish conquest and the indigenous knowledge of producing crops sustainably challenging climate conditions was lost due to colonization.

When Europeans colonized the Global South they did not just appropriated resources, but transformed the ecological landscape to maximize their profit at the expense of biodiversity which led to epistemicide, the lost of indigenous knowledge around the world.


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