The Cultivation of the Land and the Body in the Brazilian Amazon, Fall Colloquium Series

Event Date: 

Friday, October 4, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Social inequality and environmental degradation are linked, directly and materially, in fields such as political ecology and environmental justice. These forms of domination are also connected on   a conceptual level that operates across contexts and must be better understood to address interlinked goals of sustainability and equality. Here I aim to contribute to a better   understanding   of these systemic connections by scaling down from generalized humans and nature to what I call “covers,” which grow outside of humans, as vegetation, but also on humans, in the form of hair. Drawing on research in deforestation frontiers of Amazonia, I describe how migrants, farmers, and urbanites perceive, shape, and judge covers using similar categories, hierarchies, and aesthetic principles. I explain how these elements fit together in a framework that organizes and orders human-environment interactions in present-day Amazonia (and closer to home), but also across time, from the popular representations of human origins to imagined futures of engineered perfection in space or post-apocalyptic backsliding.