Perreault lectures in Mexico as Elisée Reclus Chair
Professor of Geography Thomas Perreault earlier this month was a visiting scholar with the Elisée Reclus Chair at the Colegio de Michoacán in La Piedad, Michoacán, Mexico, as well as the Centro de Investigacion y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social in Mexico City.
Elisée Reclus, for whom the Chair was named, was a French anarchist geographer in the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries, who lived some time in Mexico. The Elisée Reclus Chair was established in the 1990s for the purposes of bringing French geographers to lecture and teach in Mexico. It was later expanded to include geographers from other countries, including Spain and Brazil. Perreault was the first U.S. geographer to hold the Chair.
Perreault is a political ecologist who studies environmental governance, indigenous communities, and political movements in the Andes. His research and teaching address environmental justice, rural livelihoods, and indigenous peoples’ social movements’ politics, especially in the context of resource extraction and water management.
As Elisée Reclus Chair, Perrault gave two major lectures, one at the Colegio de Michoacán, in the city of La Piedad, Michoacán, and one in Mexico City at the research institute CIESAS - Center for Investigation and Advanced Studies in Social Anthropology. He also taught a graduate-level mini-course and held a research workshop for graduate students.
Earlier this year, Perreault was named University Scholar and Teacher of the Year at Syracuse University, an honor sponsored by the Board of Higher Education and the Ministry of the United Methodist Church. In nominating Perreault for the award, Jamie Winders, professor and chair of geography, wrote that Perreault believes his work should be accessible to the communities on which it is based. “He goes out of his way to write for both an English- and Spanish-speaking audience of scholars and activists in the U.S., Latin America, and beyond,” said Winders. “Equally important, he recruits, advises, and mentors many students from Latin America. Many of us talk about ‘giving back’ to the places we study. Few of us, however, turn that talk into deliberate action in the way that Tom does.”
In January, Perreault was visiting scholar with the Latin American Summer Institute for Social Issues, in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, where he gave a plenary address entitled, “La memoria y lo material: Imaginarios de extracción, nación y naturaleza en Bolivia” (“Memory and materiality: Imaginaries of extraction, nation and nature in Bolivia”). In Chile, he also taught a week-long graduate-level seminar on the politics of resource extraction in Latin America.