Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Society for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Students
Primary Theme: Environment and Environmental Inequality
Secondary Theme: Violence
Landscapes are often naturalized as unworked and depoliticized scenes, but what can pipelines, pineapples, coal, oil, coca leafs, and land tell us about the production of such landscapes and about the work they do to erase the destruction that created them? The papers in this panel collectively ask about the violence – political, environmental, and racial – done to the human and non-human in processes of state formation and the exercise of national development agendas in Latin America. In the case of Mexico, we look into the ongoing disputes resulting from the agrarian counter-reform of 1992, which is forcing communities to shift from the ejido regime and communally owned land, to a regime of individual private property. We address the debates around property with attention to national claims to the subsoil, and community claims of autonomy. In the case of Costa Rica, we discuss the model of sustainable development as it depoliticizes and covers up the dynamics of dispossession and the sacrifices on people and the environment. In Colombia, we explore the articulations between transitional justice and ecocide to think through the question of human and environmental rights. Altogether, we inquire into the negative production of landscape (Gordillo 2014) by means of what is sacrificed in the production of export-oriented monocultures – pineapple –, the extractive industries – coal and oil –, criminalization of non-human life, and the redefinition of land tenure. But we also engage in conversations about the ways people and nature contest the processes of violence and dispossession via activism and memory – human and earthly – and negotiate their existence in the landscape.
Gordillo, Gastón R. 2014. Rubble: The Afterlife of Destruction. Durham: Duke University Press.