Katryna Maria Kibler, Ph.D., is a 2021 graduate of the Ph.D. Program in Environmental Studies at Antioch University, New England
- Rachel Thiet, Ph.D., Committee Chair
- Jean Kayira, Ph.D., Committee Member
- Livia Bizikova, Ph.D., Committee Member
Climate Change, Neocolonization, Feminism, Maize, Resilience to Food Insecurity, West Africa
Indigenous West African farmers are among the most climate change threatened globally. Food insecurity is prevalent in West Africa because ecological, social, political, and economic instabilities, and globalization worsen climate pressures. In this study, I collaborated with the community of Bikotiba (bih-CO-ti-buh), Togo, to understand their household agricultural food access, one aspect of resilience to food insecurity. I adopted a feminist approach of reflexivity, radical vulnerability, and radical empathy, combined with decolonizing principles, to argue that there could be an ethical way for well-trained Western researchers to engage Indigenous communities, if negotiated carefully. Together, Indigenous Research Assistants and I developed and conducted semi-structured interviews in the local language, Bassari, with 56% of the heads of households in Bikotiba, and led community meetings with the demographics of men, women, and students. We learned that maize production in Bikotiba is threatened by climatic, political, and environmental changes, making maize subsistence a glaring leverage point in the community’s food security, in addition to the social-political-economic and human rights injustices keeping rural farmers impoverished in Togo. This study demonstrates the cross-cultural possibilities to advance food systems research with Indigenous communities if Western scholars foster feminist decolonizing principles. This research is only possible if supported by communities like Bikotiba, and this study provides compelling insights on the possibilities when communities support research.
Kibler, K. M. (2021). Decolonizing Food Systems Research – The Case of Household Agricultural Food Access in Bikotiba, Togo. https://aura.antioch.edu/etds/750