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Past Futures: Long-Time Thinking in South American “Living Well” Epistemologies


This ambitious and timely project aims to produce the first study of South American “Living Well” epistemologies as an intellectual corpus. The wider objective is to expand modern conceptualisations of the future and produce new and original biocentric imaginations. The Andean and Amazonian notion of “Living Well” – Buen Vivir in Spanish; Sumak Kawsay in Quechua; Suma Qamaña in Aymara – is rooted in indigenous cosmovisions and is a community-centred and bio-centred approach to sustainable living. It was first formulated in the 1960s and has been co-opted by Latin American environmental and political movements over the last decade and a half. Existing studies have looked at it from a social science perspective rather than as an intellectual production. PAST-FUTURES will produce the first monograph on Buen Vivir within the history of modern thought. The corpus selected, which goes from the 1960s to the most recent eco-feminist interpretations, will be analysed as historically intertwined with euro-western frames of thought both linguistically and conceptually. To this end, the proposed study will employ methods from global intellectual history in order to allow for original connections and deeper intersections to be brought to light. This framework will be combined with decolonial theories and post-humanist approaches. Therefore, PAST-FUTURES firstly explores these works as an integral yet disregarded part of a broader intellectual history of the modern world and, secondly, treats them as an original conceptual repository for new ways to reimagine the future through notions of interdependence and relationality in order to foster inter-generational and inter-species responsibility. The project responds to pressing societal challenges about Health, Well-Being and Climate Action set by the European Green Deal and the UN 2030 Agenda and seeks to contribute ambitious imaginations about a long-time holistic vision of what it means to live well.

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

MSCA-IF-EF-ST - Standard EF
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Kaiserswerther Strasse 16-18
14195 Berlin
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 162 806,40