Panama's Darién is a name many conservationists know. Renowned for its lowland tropical forests, its fame is more pronounced because a road that should be there is not: environmentalists have
repeatedly, and remarkably, blocked all attempts to connect the Americas via the Pan American Highway. That lacuna, that absence of a road, also serves to occlude history in the region as its
old-growth forests give the erroneous impression of a peopleless nature.
A significant—indeed unique—contribution to the literature on lowland South America. Velásquez Runk's conclusions will define the future of development, conservation, and cultural ecology studies.
—Norman E. Whitten Jr., co-author of Histories of the Present: People and Power in Ecuador
A completely unique work about a people that are nearly unknown in the literature about Latin American indigenous people.
—Les Field, co-editor of Challenging the Dichotomy: The Licit and the Illicit in Archaeological and Heritage Discourses
In Crafting Wounaan Landscapes, Julie Velásquez Runk upends long-standing assumptions about the people that
call Darién home, and she demonstrates the agency of the Wounaan people to make their living and preserve and transform their way of life in the face of continuous and tremendous change. Velásquez
Runk focuses on Wounaan crafting—how their ability to subtly effect change has granted them resilience in a dynamic and globalized era. She theorizes that unpredictable landscapes, political
decisions, and cultural beliefs are responsible for environmental conservation problems, and she unpacks environmental governance efforts that illustrate what happens when conservation is confronted
with people in a purportedly peopleless place.
The everyday dangers of environmental governance without local crafting include logging, land grabbing, and loss of carbon in a new era of
carbon governance in the face of climate change. Crafting Wounaan Landscapes provides recognition of local ways of knowing and being in the world that may be key to the future of conservation