Dissertation Title:

Decolonial Psychology and Climate Crisis: Experiences of Indigenous Women of Saman, Iran


Maryam Tahmasebi

Date, Time & Place:

December 11, 2021 at 10:00 am


Climate change has reached the point of a global crisis. The need for new paradigms of thinking and conceptualizing the problems is more evident than ever. This dissertation takes a decolonial paradigm of thinking and prioritizes the experiences of indigenous women of Saman, Iran of climate change through their environmental knowledge systems. This study is a co-constructed exploration of relational experiences and perceptions of climate change among eight elderly women of Saman who are over age 60. The people of Saman are indigenous to their land and are primarily farmers. These women were horizontally interviewed by the researcher’s community partner, Fahimeh, due to Covid-19 limitations. In an indigenous rural community like Saman, the climate is related to every single facet of life. They explained that lack of snow and rain; lack of water in the river, qanats, and fountains; changes in seasons, community rituals, and methods of agriculture; forced modernization; and violence against nature altogether have caused a significant long-term change in the climate. Saman used to have regenerative agriculture, no chemicals, zero waste, natural food preservation, and community rituals designed for food security. Women explained how Barakat had left life, and Jan is lacking from food that is produced by force and violence from the earth. This work intentionally refrains from offering modernist psychological analysis of these women’s experiences, and instead, gives voice to their intergenerational, ecological knowledge system.

  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psych Comm Liberation Ecopsych, P, 2016
  • Chair: Dr. Helene Lorenz
  • Reader: Dr. Bayo Akomolafe
  • External Reader: Dr. Joshua Cardenas
  • Keywords: Decolonial Psychology, Relational Ontology, Climate Crisis, Indigenous Women, Ecological Knowledge Systems, Iran, Indigenous Psychology, Ecopsychology