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Theoretical Approaches to the Environmental Humanities in Latin America

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Organizer: Brian Whitener

Co-Organizer: Paige Rafoth Andersson

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Jason Moore’s influential Capitalism in the Web of Life (2016) questioned traditional paradigms of Nature and Society, particularly through a refined Marxist perspective on labor and an engagement with the forces of colonialism. In the years since, many have employed and critiqued his theoretical interventions, noting its ‘monist’ approach, its use of the Capitalocene as a means of historical periodization, and reimagining what it means for nature (including humans) to labor.

This panel seeks papers in dialogue with Moore’s work, and more broadly, theoretical approaches to and criticisms of world ecology as they pertain to Latin America and the Caribbean (transnational papers with a firm grounding in the Americas are also welcome).  Recognizing Moore as a fruitful point of departure, this panel wishes to push, through theory and cultural production, the limits of world ecology when they encounter specific, material concerns in Latin America over a broad historical period. Such questions or approaches might include:

The possibilities and limitations of Moore’s work regarding extractivism and frontiers in the face of climate change and finance capital.

Considerations of social reproduction and Marxist feminism as they historically apply to Latin America alongside the notion of “putting nature to work.”

Connections between the colonial origins of environment-making and our modern eco-crisis.

Explorations of Marx’s concept of metabolic rift, as a social and ecological relation, as they concretely relate to Latin American history, cultural production, and political economy.

Focuses on the Green Revolution and agriculture and how they dialogue with carbon-centered approaches.

Meditations on the political implications of Moore’s work, partiularly given critiques mounted by eco-socialists and groups such as Out of the Woods.

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