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Extracting natural resources: International scholars to examine impact in Latin America

A new series of talks at Illinois State University will include scholars from around the globe exploring the social and environmental impact of withdrawing natural resources from the Earth.

The series, titled Natural Resource Extraction in Latin America: Society, Environment, and Politics, is an Interdisciplinary Lecture Series discussing the causes and effects of extracting resources from areas throughout Latin America.

All seminars will be at 4 p.m. on Tuesdays in Schroeder Hall, room 244, and are free and open to the public.

February 12
Associate Professor of Sociocultural Anthropology Bret Gustafson, will present “Fossil Capital and Revolutionary Affect: On Natural Gas and Political Fantasy in Bolivia.”

Gustafson will explore Bolivia’s 10-plus years of natural gas extraction that have yielded record levels of state income and a new politics of redistribution. With the Indigenous President Evo Morales, the era has also been deemed one of “revolutionary change” and on-going anti-imperialist struggle. Yet talk of revolution and anti-imperialism work together with the deepening of an extraction industry largely controlled by, and dependent on, multinational capital. Gustafson, a faculty member at Washington University in St. Louis, will attempt to make sense of this contradiction, one largely mediated by gas rents and the uses made of them.

March 5
Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú Assistant Professor of Anthropology Gerardo Castillo will present “Mining Development in the Peruvian Andes: The Emergence of New Rural Landscapes.”

Castillo holds a Ph.D. from the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining at the University of Queensland. His research, published in journals such as Sustainable Development and The Extractive Industries and Society, utilizes critical-social sciences perspectives to understand placemaking and mobility dynamics around large-scale mining operations in Peru.

April 9
“Investment Patterns and Community Rights: Lessons from Natural Resource Struggles in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa” by Program Officer of Natural Resources and Climate Change for the Ford Foundation Ximena Warnaars.

Warnaars set up the regional office for EarthRights International in Peru as well as serving on the Global Greengrants Fund’s Andes Advisory Board. Warnaars has a Ph.D. in environment, education, and development from the University of Manchester and a master’s in anthropology from the University of Utrecht.

April 23
Professor of Sociology at Western Michigan University Paul Ciccantell will present “Un-developing the Amazon (and the Rest of Brazil): Reversing Aluminum-based Development.”

This talk analyzes the rapid development of the Brazilian aluminum industry and the subsequent deindustrialization of its most technologically advanced and capital-intensive processing. Ciccantell will explore Brazil’s production of aluminum and how the large, capital-intensive, and technologically sophisticated industry affects Brazilian development. Ciccantell will look to the changing nature of the process of globalization, most importantly its articulation with the competitive strategies of globalizing firms and with the economic development strategies of national governments.

Ciccantell is the author and editor of four books including Globalization and the Race for Resources (Johns Hopkins University Press) and East Asia and the Global Economy (Johns Hopkins University Press). He has served as the program director for the Sociology Program at the National Science Foundation and the director of the Kercher Center for Social Research at Western Michigan University. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The Natural Resource Extraction in Latin America: Society, Environment, and Politics seminars are sponsored by Latin American and Latinx Studies, Environmental Studies, Department of Geography, Geology and the Environment, and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

For additional information, contact organizers Associate Professor of Sociology Michael Dougherty and Associate Professor of Geography Matthew Himley.

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