Reviews

Author: 
Walker, Charles

Walker, Charles. Smoldering Ashes : Cuzco and the Creation of Republican Peru, 1780-1840. Durham, NC, USA: Duke University Press, 1999.

Trying to negotiate a space for historiography between the state and the people (Joseph and Nugent quote p. 7), Walker proposes a look at the upheaval around the transition to independence in Peru through the lens of political culture. Thus his analysis not only deals with political struggles, but the contending ideological currents and public rituals that fueled them. As material, Walker looks at the Tupac Amaru revolt of 1780-1781; the Pumacahua rebellion 1814-1815; the war of independence; and finally the rise of caudillismo and Agustín Gamarra. His primary sources mostly come from judicial archives—where he is able to show that Indian resistance not only took the form of rebellions and revolts, but legal challenges, as well—but for Chapter 6, “The War of the Words: Urban Political Culture in Postcolonial Cuzco”, he expands on those sources to look at public rituals such as independence festivities and bullfights, and he even tries to analyze Narciso Arestegui‘s novel, EI Padre Hordn: Escenas de la vida del Cuzco.

Walker deals with some major issues: caudillismo and the state, Indian political participation, the Bourbon reforms and the “liberal spring” of the Cortes de Cádiz, but at this point I think his treatment of Inca revivalism, demonstrating how it went beyond being a mere rhetorical tool deployed by cacique insurgents to influence the shape and surfacing of caudillismo in Peru, is what will be most useful for me as I look at Belaúnde and his unique brand of Inca nostalgia.

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Crosby, Alfred

Crosby, Alfred. “A Good Try at Organizing World History Environmentally.” History and Theory, Vol. 41, No. 2 (May, 2002), pp. 218-224

In this insightful review Crosby looks at Felipe Fernández-Armesto's Civilizations: Culture, Ambition, and the Transformation of Nature—the "good try at organizing history environmentally" and exposes some of his own musings on the questions that should be asked of world history.

Fernández's book defines civilization "as a type of relationship, a relationship to the natural environment, recrafted by the civilizing impulse, to meet human demands," (Fernández 14), something Crosby claims allows him to avoid the well-worn narratives that “start with the river valley societies of the Middle East and chug[s] on up through Greece and Rome to Queen Victoria and Microsoft, with condescending nods to other civilizations of Afro-Eurasia and, just possibly, of pre-Columbian America.the icy wastes-Eskimos, Vikings; the arid wastes-Hohokam, Bushman, and others, the grasslands-Sioux to Mongols; the forest-lands, tropical and temperate-Celts to Huronsto Maya; the alluvial-Egyptians, Sumerians, Shang Chinese, and so on; the highlands-Inca, Aztec, Tibetan, and all; the island and littoral-Polynesian, Dutch, Phoenicians, and that lot."

Crosby, for his part takes issue on two points, both of which speak to the broad generalities that will inevitably result from such a far-reaching project as that of Fernández. First, Crosby desires more respect for individual species. "'Agriculture,' a worn and weary and ambiguous concept,” (222) should be set aside so we can examine the importance of humans domesticating specific organisms. Next, Crosby puts in for broaching the difficult question of why some societies have more successfully exploited nature in the service of their necessities. (223)
If anything, Fernández' Civilizations: Culture, Ambition, and the Transformation of Nature  and Crosby's provocative response to it prove an axiom form page 211, on the differences between civilizations, and indeed on history in general “God has not chiseled the answer in stone.” 
 

Author: 
Carey, Mark

Carey, Mark. “Latin American Environmental History: Current Trends, Interdisciplinary Insights, and Future Directions,” Environmental History 14 (April 2009): 221-252.

While environmental histories of Latin America have tended to present mostly Marxist- dependency theory- and world-systems-inspired, declentionist narratives of colonialism, capitalism and conservation (see works by Shawn Miller, Lise Sedrez, Warren Dean, as well as the canons by Crosby, Worster, Grove, Melville and Guillermo Castro), Carey has noticed some exciting new trends in the field. Namely, he sees 1) a shift in conceptions of “nature;” 2) embrace of the roles of a diversity of social actors, knowledges and discourses (I would argue both of these are a result of the “cultural turn,” although Carey only attributes this second development to it); and finally 3) the emergence of challenges to the declentionist narrative. This last one in particular is seen as a way of responding to Carey's question of “Do such depictions of environmental degradation and crisis, usually caused by Europeans or North Americans, deny Latin Americans’ place in their own past?” (222).

My general reaction to this piece is that it is an exquisitely researched and thoughtfully structured lit review that rests on a few assumptions that I would like to address. First, in a question like the aforementioned one, Carey is clearly working from a monolithic definition of “Latin Americans” that can be forgiven based on the nature of his project―to give a survey―but should nonetheless not go overlooked. After all, as he himself mentions in the cases of Cardoso and Galeano―and I would add Neruda (“La United Fruit Co.”) and Márquez (“The Solitude of Latin America”), as well―some Latin Americans participated in the very production of those narratives of plunder and degradation.

The next two assumptions I find slightly more problematic: and they are that, for Carey, progress in Latin American environmental history is made by blurring the nature-culture divide and overturning declentionist narratives.

Author: 
Sundberg, Juanita

Sundberg, Juanita. “Conservation and Democratization: Constituting Citizenship in the Maya Biosphere Reserve, Guatemala.” Political Geography 22 (2003): pp. 715–740.

"Conservation and Democratization” proposes a critical understanding of the links between environmental protection and democracy that are too often assumed to be inherent. Through an analysis of citizenship formation in Guatemala and two ethnographic vignettes of conservation projects in the Petén region of Guatemala, Sundberg argues:

...democratization and environmental protection in Guatemala intersect in uneasy and paradoxical ways. At the heart of these contradictions lay historical patterns of exclusion that restrict who counts as a political actor, (environmental) decision-maker, and therefore citizen. (716)

As working definitions, Sundberg sees citizenship as “the processes through which individuals contest and negotiate legal frameworks, social or daily practices, and, I would add, cultural imaginaries, as they attempt to exercize rights and responsibilities, and democracy” and “democratization is defined as the social processes whereby individuals and collectives come to acquire/embody/enlarge the category of political actor, decision-maker, and therefore citizen in the context of conservation projects.” (718-719)

Her Case studies range from exclusionary to participatory. On the exclusionary side the Maya Biosphere Reserve and the Center for Education and Investigation of Tropical Agronomy's (CATIE) Conservation for the Sustainable Development of Central America project, are both seen as riding roughshod over the wants and needs of the area's inhabitants primarily because historical hierarchies and modes of exclusion are replicated in the ways that these projects  are run and the way they institute conservation policies. One of the most common examples of this exclusion is often predicated on the assumption that indigenous and ladino inhabitants of the reserve's multiple-use zones are not intelligent or knowledgeable enough to be included in the decision-making process.

Author: 
Raffles, Hugh.

Raffles, Hugh. In Amazonia: A Natural History. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002.

Pastiche cream pie with postcolonial sprinkles and a side of Wade Davis; In Amazonia latches onto Delueze and Guatarri's origin-less stream and drags its reader through what is surely an endless, meandering yarn. I found it helpful, ambitious, scattered and coming up short. Through a convoluted, interdisciplinary study of Amazonian Igarapés—man-made channels used to navigate the forest and access resources from gardens to timber and açaí—the Mahogany trade, and the works and travels of Sir Walter Ralegh and Henry Walter Bates, Raffles tries to communicate the idea that the work of place-building is full of both labor and affect. Thus, Raffles argues, the social components of place are not the results of ecology, as some deterministic such as the carrying capacity model might suggest, but indeed subvert the role of ecology in place-building.

In the first, second, third and and seventh chapters, Raffles maintains a broad yet visible coherency. The former two, ranging in subject from Walter Banjamin's road to hydrology and old man Carambula, an 1820s illiterate timber trader, set up the latter two, which we can assume are the product of Raffles' fieldwork in the village of Igarapé Guariba. In these chapters, one is exposed to some of the social conflicts that are played out within the community and how they are linked to commerce, social networks, and notions of place. The background provided particularly in Chapter 2 serves to establish a context for those vectors of confrontation and conviviality.

Author: 
Gonzales, Tirso

Gonzales, Tirso, "From Colonial Encounter to Decolonizing Encounters. Culture and Nature seen from the Andean Cosmovision of Ever: the Nurturance of Life as Whole." In How Biodiversity and Culture Intersect? Eds. Jules Pretty and Sarah Pilgrim. Earthscan publishers, forthcoming.

Gonzales' central project is one of introducing and promoting the use of Andean cosmovisions as a paradigm for overcoming the noxious ramifications of a global practice of excising culture from nature. He argues that the nature-culture divide is a key component of ecological crises and that embracing the agro-centric worldview embodied in the Quechua-Aymara phenomenon of the ayllu―a collectivity in which “all living beings are harboured in a place where the natural collectivity of visible and non-visible living beings (people, llamas, rocks, mountains, rivers, and so on) is nurtured by pachamama” (5)—is the solution. A major component of ayllu is the idea of the chacra, which he describes as a sense of place, one in which human, animal and environmental actors harmonize in the creation of saberes, or ways of knowing rooted in practice rather than preparation (see the chart on page 10).

While the fallible nature of Western thought as presented here is significantly more fleshed out—and in a much more convincing manner—in the works of White, Campanella, Pollan, and Cronon to a degree, one contribution supplied by Gonzales is found in his focus not on the detrimental consequences of the nature-culture divide but on outlining the tenets of what he sees as a solution: the so-called “Andean Cosmovision of Ever” (*I'll steal his footnote on this heroic moniker and place it below).

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Author: 
Cronon, William.

Cronon, William. Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists and the Ecology of New England. New York: Hill and Wang, 1983.

This book traces the transformation of New England ecosystems and the ways in which those ecosystems were viewed and utilized by those inhabiting them. Framed by Cronon's trademarked economy as ecology lens, it looks at those transformations not as the commonly accepted cut-off separating idyllic Indian communities living in complete harmony with their static, unchanging environs from the desecration introduced by English colonialism, but instead as a continuum of change―perpetrated for millennia by natural catastrophes, Indian farming and grazing practices and colonialist exploitation―that can also be seen as a transformation of how people lived within those environs. The trajectory Cronon focuses in on is one of a patchwork* of ecosystems in which biodiversity is in constant, and random, flux to a bound and fenced grid of systematically controlled, and individualized/commodified species.

From the outset, Cronon identifies three major problems: A) the type of sources to be used in what he is calling “an historical ecology”; B) How to define what constitutes change over time; and C) how to establish the boundaries of the ecosystem he studies. The sources he works with may be considered traditional, like descriptions gleaned from naturalists,  travelers, court and legislative records, and avant garde such as old-growth timber, fossil pollen and archeological evidence. The way he choses to define change is by looking at how ways of living in nature were transformed rather than how nature as a separate or “virgin” construct was altered. Finally, he works with boundaries based on climate, soil make-up, flora and fauna, as opposed to political divisions.

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Author: 
Anderson, Virginia DeJohn

Anderson, Virginia DeJohn. Creatures of Empire: How Domestic Animals Transformed Early America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006

In Creatures of Empire: How Domestic Animals Transformed Early America, Anderson portrays livestock as playing a pivotal, and fairly autonomous, role in the process of colonization. Evoking the Roman concept of res nullius, the English colonial project self-justified by claiming to make use of empty lands. Livestock, through grazing, served as the proof. Furthermore, once indigenous inhabitants of the colonies were recognized as populating those “empty lands,” livestock, and cattle in particular, were seen as proselytizing agents, in that, by forcing a nomadic people such as the Algonquian to settle on farms, they would inevitably adopt English ways, eventually converting to Christianity and viewing livestock as living products.

This second role of livestock betrays a much less autonomous agency than that which Pollan assembles. Here cattle are nonetheless agents, wielding the capacity to foment change via their actions, yet this agency is now yielded to the service of another master; along the spectrum of agency within the structure of Christianity, cattle fall at the sustaining end. This is nowhere better illustrated than on the stage of weaponization that Anderson constructs at the outset of chapter seven: “A Prophecy Fulfilled.”

Author: 
Chirif, Alberto and Pedro García Hierro

Chirif, Alberto and Pedro García Hierro. Marcando territorio: progresos y limitaciones de la titulación de territorios indígenas en la Amazonía. Copenhagen: International Working Group for Indigenous Affairs, 2007.

In Marcando territorio: progresos y limitaciones de la titulación de territorios indígenas en la Amazonía (IWGIA, 2007), Alberto Chirif and Pedro García engage with the inconsistent legal reality of land title in the Peruvian Amazon. While their narrative arch repeats a mantra of progress, the overview offered of how Roman legal theory with its concept of res nullius comes into conflict with traditional territorial claims demonstrates that land sovereignty has yet to be fully institutionalized throughout the Amazonian republics.

In the Peruvian context, this progression begins with the promulgation of Decreto Ley 20.653, or the “Ley de comunidades nativas”, which through the creation of the juridical entity of the Comunidad Nativa (and together with the 1969 agrarian reform), granted legal status to indigenous Amazonian communities for the first time. By way of DL 20.653 indigenous territories begin to take on legal shape, starting as patchwork claims near villages, highway nodes, schools and churches and eventually, through the leveraging of DL 20.653, further territory is added. Toward the end of the '70s this process slows, due in part to the promulgation of DL 22.175, which modifies DL 20.653 in a way that provides a sovereignty loophole. It is not until the mid '80s when AIDESEP steps in and takes on a large-scale effort to assign titles that legalization of indigenous territory begins to pick up in pace. The section on Peru closes with a look at Article 11 of DL 22.175 and the other challenges to sovereign control posed by colonization, forestry and subsoil exploitation.

Author: 
Cronon, Wiliam.

Cronon, Wiliam. "A Place for Stories: Nature, History, and Narrative." Journal of American History, Vol. 78 No. 4 (1992), pp. 1347-1376.

William Cronon, approaches the question of narrative primarily from the realm of space. In "A Place for Stories: Nature, History, and Narrative," he uses the historiography of the Great Plains as fodder for exploring what he has categorized as the two fundamental groupings of narrative form: “progressive” narratives, and “declensionist” or tragic narratives. On the one hand, progressive narratives—embodied by the works of Turner, Hare, Hill, and in a different way, those of Webb and Malin—tend to consist of linear, ascending structures in which the space constructed (in this case the Great Plains) undergoes a transformation from wasteland to promised land. So-called declensionist narratives, however, tend to be circular in that they often times begin with a progressive structure that then continues on to an eventual decline, thus ending in tragedy not triumph, and with the constructed space returned to a wasteland. This form is exemplified by the New Deal authors who presented the Dust Bowl as a failure on the part of humans to properly cultivate the land in a sustainable manner.

After defining these two groups, Cronon returns to his original dichotomy of Bonnifield's The Dust Bowl on the one hand and Worster's Dust Bowl on the other, in order to assign an ideological dimension to each narrative form. Cronon contends that the declensionist narrative served the statist agenda of New Dealers by rendering the Dust Bowl as a problem they were perfectly suited to handle. As such he attributes to that form a collectivist ideal that Worster embraces. Furthermore, the circular structure of declensionist narrative serves Worster in his attempts to frame the Dust Bowl within a metanarrative of the rise and fall of capitalism.

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Author: 
Cruikshank, Julie

Cruikshank, Julie. Do Glaciers Listen? Local Knowledge, Colonial Encounters, and Social Imagination. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2005.

In Julie Cruikshank's Do Glaciers Listen? Local Knowledge, Colonial Encounters, and Social Imagination, an attempt to rethink the nature-culture divide is made, not by reconciling, but blurring the boundaries between scientific understandings of glaciers and the oral tradition surrounding them. Cruikshank flows from one register to another, blending the scientific histories of Gulf of Alaska glaciers with the oral histories of how Tlingit and Athapaskan peoples navigated glacial terrain and endowed collective experience of glacier growth and recession with meaning. Building from the theories of Mikhail Bakhtin, Harold Innis and Walter Benjamin, she demonstrates how the histories told by Annie Ned, Kitty Smith and Angela Sidney can be made to dialogue with the accounts of Jean-François de La Pérouse, John Muir and Edward James Glave in much the same that Edward Said proposes a contrapuntal method of reading colonial narratives in his book Culture and Imperialism. 

Through her dialogical notion of local knowledge, the history of human interactions with, and understandings of, glaciers in the Gulf of Alaska becomes a staging ground for the struggle for equal representation in colonial contexts. As Cruikshank presents them, Tlingit oral histories pose resistance to the epistemological  and ontological  bases of dominant discourse. Indeed they can, and should be used as “timeless narratives in timely ways as valuable historical commentary.”  Therefore, it can be said that Cruikshank also launches her study beginning with the dichotomy of nature and culture so prevalent in Enlightenment discourse. But her project destabilizes that divide through the introduction of oral histories that resist the dominance of sources like those provided by La Pérouse, Muir and Glave. In her way, she relies on that boundary between glaciers as objects of science and glaciers as subjects in a community in that deconstructing it through the notion of dialogue is her primary objective.

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Author: 
Cronon, William

Cronon, William. Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West. New York: Norton, 1991.

An initial, and unavoidable, acknowledgement of dichotomy can be seen in the very structure of Cronon's monumental work Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West. Sectioned into three parts, Nature's Metropolis begins by situating itself among the fictions and frameworks used to explain Chicago's transformation from a sand bar at the meeting of open and flowing waters to its status as gateway city to the Great West.  Here, in Part I, Cronon launches what will become an extended dialogue with Johann Heinrich Von Thünen's notion of the isolated state, and the proponents of Central Place Theory that followed him. While Central Place Theory does account for the reconfigurations of space resulting from capitalistic resource distribution, Cronon argues its anaemic allowance for geographical nuances is demonstrated by applying it to a specific real-world locale such as Chicago.   Mired in the hypothetical, the isolated state cannot dialogue with the realities—lakes, rivers, mountains, sandbars, etc.—of what Cronon calls first nature, that nature untouched by the geography of capitalism.

The second and third parts of Nature's Metropolis then represent an obsessed struggle with the inherent binary of Central Place Theory—that of the city and its hinterland —which Cronon complicates, deconstructs and reveals to be an intricate, historically dependent system of negotiations both between and within nature and culture.

Author: 
Campanella, Richard

Campanella, Richard. "An Ethnic Geography of New Orleans." Journal of American History, 94 (Dec. 2007): pp. 704–715.

¿Qué pedo? Did Dick Campanella write this with a grant from some Bush administration PR firm, or is my decision, as a rebellious pre-pubescent seventh grader, to never become a statistician now coming back to haunt me?

As I understand him, Campanella seeks to demonstrate the error of those who chalk the horrific consequences of Katrina and their disproportionate impact in the black community up to questions of race and poverty. Wielding census data, he tracks the fluctuations in ethnic make-up across the city since the early part of the nineteenth century, showing, among other things, how in many instances the less-privileged blacks and immigrants flocked to the better house stock left behind over various waves of white migration. For instance, with the advent of trolleys, the inner city, once the site of mansions and maitre’ds, was emptied of wealthy whites who moved to suburban areas like the low-lying Lakeview development. As they moved out, those mansions were converted to tenements for blacks from other, louder, and more congested wards. Based on this factoid and the information that another area, the high riverfront, was populated mostly by blacks, Campanella concludes that, despite others’ selective reading of the facts, “New Orleanians, of all races, classes, and ethnicities, falsely secure in flood-protection and drainage technologies, moved into harm’s way in fairly proportionate numbers.

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Author: 
White, Lynn

White, Lynn. "The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis." Science 155 (1967): pp. 1203-1207.
   
This work puts forth an argument that to me seems rather sound: That the rise and confluence of science and technology has markedly Judeo-Christian roots, and that those roots, due to the dichotomy of man and nature seen in Judeo-Christian teleology, are the primary cause of the destruction of nature.

Some strong points: White outlines a buyable progression starting with the premise that every living creature must make use of its surrounding environment, the problem is that with the confluence of science and technology human’s capacity to exploit nature has reached catastrophic proportions. This he attributes to the paradigm shift seen as part of the rise of Western society, based in Juedo-Christian values. Unlike Islam, Buddism and many pagan, anamist teleologies, the Judeo-Christian ethic allows humans to view themselves as separate from nature, and nature as the expression―not the symbolic representation―of god, to be explored, deconstructed and evaluated. This shift―seen in medieval sciences that more closely resembled today’s theology―led, in practice, to the development of technologies in agriculture, which drastically altered the way land was cultivated: “Thus Distribution of land was based no longer on the needs of a family, but, rather, on the capacity of a power machine to till the earth … Formerly man had been part of nature; now he was the exploiter of nature.” This basic philosophy, which I, or maybe a Marxist, might attribute as much to capitalism as to Christianity, is the root cuase for today’s environmental degradation, and thus, as White puts it, the only true cure rests in a complete rethinking of Christian ideals.

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Méndez Gastelumendi, Cecilia

Méndez Gastelumendi, Cecilia. El poder del nombre, o la construcción de identidades étnicas y nacionales en el Perú. Lima: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos (IEP), 2002.

Breaking her article into six parts, Méndez begins by relating her work to contemporary debates about inclusion and nationhood as can be seen in the final report of the Comisión Investigadora de los Sucesos de Uchuraccay, named by Belaúnde and presided by Vargas Llosa. She argues that the report―on the killing of 8 journalists in the Huanta region of Ayacucho in 1983 and the subsequent trial of Uchuraccay community members―bears witness to, and reinforces, some of the common stereotypes attributed to the so-called “iquichanos.”

She next relates her struggles in the archives. In the second section “el sentido de lo no hallado” she ties space to subjectivity, concluding that “iquichano” and the related place of origin “Iquicha” are the products of a process of identity construction that began with the anti-republican rebellion of 1826-1828. As none of her sources could demonstrate exactly where Iquicha was nor, therefore, whom could be identified as iquichano (and, importantly, that no reference to either term can be found before 1825), she speculates that it was precisely the lack of official demarcation that eventually led many restorationist campesinos to identify with it. (18)
In the following section she assesses the seemingly ironic acceptance of the term as a moniker of self-representation on the part of Huanta campesinos following independence and particularly after they sided with Obregoso and Santa Cruz in their resistance of Cuzcan  general Gamarra's attacks (1833-1834). This acceptance is ironic when baring in mind the way town mayors, in a series of petitions to the perfect in 1831, chalked up their plight―poor agricultural conditions, slow recovery from the '26-'28 rebellion―to their having been victims of the “corifeos del partido quichano” (18-19, from petitions).

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Belaunde Terry, Fernando


Belaunde Terry, Fernando . “El Mestizaje de la economia”. Journal of Inter-American Studies, Vol. 5, No. 4 (Oct., 1963), pp. 545-549

“La naturaleza, por intermedio del arbol, es aqui maestra en ingenieria, como en tantos otros aspectos.”

Belaúnde opens with the common excuse offered for why modernization has yet to take place outside of Lima and the few other cosmopolitan centers of Perú: “there is no money.” The solution to what he sees as a problem of integrating the Peruvian economy—with its legacies of colonialist extractive mercantilism and Incan systems of anyi and minka—into an increasingly modern global economy (and here's the catch, he never says “global,” yet there is a subtext of catching Peru up) is by way of what Peru represents to him: mestizaje. So what does the mestizaje of the economy look like? It is an economy in which the burden is distributed between the central state and the communities, in which Lima responds to the need for external financial capital while the communities take on the challenge of supplying labor. Furthermore, nature serves as a metaphor of this economic mestizaje when he describes the joint task of strengthening Peru's road network. The central government, with the presumably foreign, financial capital it has secured, will build the trunks of major highways, while the communities, through collective labor are in charge of the branches, from which come the fruits. At the end, this tree theory is exemplified in the case of Huamantanga, where it was estimated the community's collective labor represented a savings of some 3 million soles. By extrapolating this example to the national scale, where 725 district capitals (1963), were still not accessible by road, he is able to demonstrate that indeed, there is money, it merely rests in the labor of community workforces.

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mestizaje.pdf 1.28 MB

 

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Loo, Tina

Loo, Tina. States of Nature: Conserving Canada's Wildlife in the Twentieth Century. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2006.

Introduction
Using such examples as the Shangri-La development in Vancouver, the mountainous Vancouver skyline, Molson Canadian, Emily Carr, and Canadian currency, Loo addresses the use of nature in the formation of national identity, and poses the problem of “[t]he extent to which wildlife is a common currency in Canada.” (1) She then goes on the schematize the book defining the scale―turn of the century to the 1970s―the issues―conflicts, contradictions and complexities of humans' relationships to nature―the arguments―1) change over time of those relations, 2) actors came not only from within the state but from within the purview of Local Knowledge, as well, and 3) conservation has been about values (6-7)―and finally the content of each chapter.

Wild by Law: Animals, People and the State to 1945
This chapter broadly traces how wildlife in Canada eventually went from being considered part of a “local commons” to becoming part of a much more centralized―although nonetheless contentious―regulatory project. However, the centralized project bolstered by Progressivist ideology did not reach the status of national commons as it did in the U.S. Instead, it remained very much dependent on the “local knowledge” of game wardens and fish and game association heads, who were often drawn directly from local communities. In an evaluation of the ideology behind this Canadian brand of game management, Loo discusses the shift from wildlife as food to wildlife as sport, looking at how the “sportsman's creed” and anti-modernist conceptions of nature fuelled the development and promotion of conservation reserves where wildlife was “hunted with a gun or a camera.” (35)

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Frazier, Lessie Jo

Frazier, Lessie Jo. “Gendering the Space of Death: Memory, Democratization, and the Domestic.” In Gender, Sexuality, and Power in Latin America Since Independence,” William French and Katherine Bliss, eds. Toronto: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2007.

Frazier argues that the only way to overcome the cyclical repetitions of violence that have subverted “transitions” from military rule in Chile and Argentina is to embrace what she calls perverted subjectivities. The multitude of frameworks she engages to reach that conclusion, however, is what deems this article noteworthy. The underlying thread deals with Taussig's notion of the “space of death” the space shared by violator and violated. Situating the so-called transitions form military rule to democracy within this space of death, she then demonstrates how the common junta analogies between the nation and the body—portraying the body (politik) as infected by ideology and in need of the shock (Klein) and order of military rule—established parallels between the public and the private, the plaza and the casa, which in turn enabled the gendering of violence and the feminization of victimhood.

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Martin, Calvin

Martin, Calvin. "The European Impact on the Culture of a Northeastern Algonquian Tribe: An Ecological Interpretation." William and Mary Quarterly 31.1 (1974): pp. 3-26.

Martin leverages empirical environmental data—the overkill of beavers in Algonquian territory—to delve into less demonstrable transitions in post-contact Algonquian cosmology; I like this.

Launching his study with an overview of the practical uses of hunting mainstays such as moose, beaver and bears, in the everyday life of pre-contact Algonquian society, Martin then goes on to discuss the spiritual/cosmological significance of those animals and the manner in which cosmology influences practice in Algonquian life. He then introduced the breech symbolized by contact with Europeans, eventually concluding—in what could easily be considered a case study proving White’s hypothesis about science and technology and how their Western, Judeo-Christian roots allow for the man-nature dichotomy to arise and facilitate the exploitation, rather than cohabitation, of nature—that beaver overkill arose due to a tripartite introduction of disease, Christianity and technological advances (namely those pertaining to the fur trade) and the resulting teleological transformation that meant for the Algonquian world view. Put simply, these factors subverted their pre-contact cosmology by raising doubts about the curing power of shamans and the reactive capacity of taboos, introducing the Judeo-Christian binary, and providing a new, seemingly endless, material need in the form of European markets.

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White, Richard

White, Richard. The Organic Machine: The Remaking of the Columbia River. New York: Hill and Wang, 1995.

Richard White's The Organic Machine: The Remaking of the Columbia River begins by outlining the confluence of geographies that will serve as his framework for looking at how the Columbia River challenges an ontological separation of humans from their environment. Each of the following chapters then corresponds to one of those three geographies: “Putting the River to Work” broadly outlines the geography of energy represented in the Columbia and the attempts—both physically and philosophically—to harness its geologically endowed energy; Chapter 3, “The Power of the River” chronicles the geography of labor stemming from the river once its power began to be harnessed; and Chapter 4, “Salmon,” charts a cultural geography, following the decline of salmon, the river's “repositories of meaning.”(90)

Yet the thread woven through White's narrative, taking us from the battles of man versus nature told by the Astorians through the river's transformation into organic machine and later to a “virtual,” or “mimetic” river, flowing across computer screens, (106-107) is the flow of energy itself. What eventually reveals the paucity of a nature-culture divide in The Organic Machine, is White's ability to reduce everything to the status of conduit: here the sheer power inherent in the river's flow courses not only through hydroelectric and nuclear power plants, but through the bodies of salmon and humans alike, as well as through electronic representations such as FLUSH and CriSP.(ibid) The very title of this book exemplifies the impossibility of drawing a boundary between nature and humans along today's Columbia River. Thus the human-nature metaphor White sees most fitting is one of a marriage—a union of two individual entities—which, in the case of the Columbia, has turned out to be a failed one. (59)

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