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Building hybrid knowledge at the Intercultural University of Veracruz, Mexico: an anthropological study of indigenous contexts

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The 'interculturalization' of educational institutions designed for, and sometimes by, indigenous peoples has reached the realm of higher education. In Mexico, 'intercultural universities or colleges' are being created either by state governments, NGOs and community organizations or by academic institutions. In this paper, one of these 'intercultural university', pilot projects - the Universidad Veracruzana Intercultural (UVI) - which offers a BA in Intercultural Management for Development in four indigenous regions in the State of Veracruz, is ethnographically studied and comparatively analysed. With the UVI as the research subject, the main interest consists of examining the potential for inter- or cross-cultural dialogue, which resides in these emerging and hybrid institutions, which have started to construct new bridges between conventional, 'western', academic knowledge, on the one hand, and local, community-rooted, 'indigenous knowledge', on the other. Three dimensions are analysed in this anthropological study: the intercultural dimension (the dialogue between different cultures and world views), the interlingual dimension (the relation between linguistic systems which have historically coexisted in the four regions where the fieldwork is conducted), and the dimension that is focused on the interaction between academic, community and organizational actors.
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Keywords: indigenous knowledge; intercultural universities; knowledge transfer and hybridation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Universidad Veracruzana Intercultural, Veracruz, CP 91000, Mexico

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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