Friday, October 29, 2021 3:00 PM
Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs
Program on Latin America and the Caribbean and Department of Geography and the Environment present
Between Flood and Drought: Environmental Racism, The Production of
Settler Waterscapes, and Indigenous Water Justice in South America’s Chaco
This talk advances a novel approach to assessing the geographies
of settler colonialism by wedding insights from Indigenous studies alongside
critical physical geography. Settler colonialism is a structure of
social-spatial relations centered on land dispossession and elimination of
Indigenous lifeways. While geography matters to settler colonialism, few
studies examine how settlers use biophysical geographies to colonize and the
effects on Indigenous water access. I weave an analysis of historical
missionary accounts with a political economy of contemporary cattle ranching
and GIS assessment of water infrastructures to show how settler waterscape
formation reworks hydro-social relations in the South American Gran Chaco.
Further, the paper shows how settler waterscapes produce vulnerability along
racial lines by limiting Indigenous access to water that subsequently makes
regularly-occurring flood and drought events malignant, even deadly. I argue
that settler colonialism is manifest in spatially distinct ways vis-à-vis
different physical geographies that produces environmental racism, showing that
water scarcity is socially produced. Based on long-term field research with
Enxet and Sanapaná peoples in Paraguay, the paper contributes to debates on
colonial natures, water justice, and Indigenous geographies by using critical
physical geography to study the production of novel bio-social systems and
their implications on justice.
This talk is a part of the Geography and the
Environment Colloquium Series.
Joel E. Correia
Assistant Professor, Center for Latin American Studies
University of Florida
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