Lowland South America; Guianas; Indigenous peoples; Amazonianist ethnology


In the introduction to this special issue of Tipití, dedicated to recent ethnographies conducted among indigenous peoples in Guianese Amazonia, we offer an overview of the main anthropological traditions that have placed the region at the center of debates in Amazonianist ethnology. Alternatively defined as a "linguistic area," "cultural area," or "ethnographic area," the Guianas region is shared by indigenous collectives of the Cariban family and, to a lesser extent, Arawak, Tupi, Yanomami, Sáliva, and Warao-speaking groups, and is associated with some of the monographs that inaugurated the modern period of ethnological reflection on kinship in Amazonia, as well as influential comparative syntheses on the native regional systems of Lowland South America. Throughout the text, we point out the recent repercussions of classical images regarding the Guianese Indigenous peoples, as well as the awakening of other theoretical concerns and new contexts of disciplinary dialogue and ethnographic work in Amazonia. It is noteworthy that this issue stands as one of the few and possibly the first to include texts authored by indigenous researchers on the ethnology of the indigenous Guianas, themselves belonging to the Wai Wai people. Their articles, written in collaboration with non-indigenous researchers, demonstrate the necessity for diverse authorial and methodological approaches in the context of the increasing Indigenous presence in universities. The articles included in this issue provide a glimpse into contemporary research in the Guianas, covering a wide range of topics including conviviality, gender, kinship, morality, emotions, death, ritual, music, space-time, movement, memory, orality, mythology, partnership, and ethnographic authorship. They not only shed light on the enduring fertility of key debates in regional ethnology but also reveal significant transformations in anthropological paradigms and the lived experiences of Guianese peoples.