The Amazonian Fires Teach-in: Searching for Common Threads and Alternatives in Brazil's Amazonia and Bolivia's Chiquitania
Global condemnation has been focused on Brazil's far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, over the increasing number of fires raging in the Amazon, the world's largest tropical forest. Evo Morales, the first indigenous president of Bolivia and a left-wing leader is also facing anger and condemnation within and outside Bolivia for the expansion of fires in the Chiquitania region. Drawing on a range of Brazilian and Bolivian activist-analysts, this teach-in will provide historical and political context for the similarities and differences between places and address concrete alternatives.
What are the common historical and contemporary policy threads that link these processes in the two countries? Which are the differences and what can we learn from the history of land grabbing and the actual expansion of the agricultural frontier and the extractive industry leading to the destruction of what some call the "pulmon"of the planet? How has the recognition of indigenous rights and claims played out differently in each context? Have the constitutionalized rights of mother earth in Bolivia made a difference in order to protect human and non-human forms of life from these fires? How will this destruction affect the intensification of climate change globally?
This event is free and open to the public. ID required at the door.
Tom Kruse (Moderator) is the Program Director at Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and adjunct professor at The New School.
Cristiane Julião Pankararu comes from Brejo dos Padres Village, Tacaratu / Pernambuco State of Brazil. She holds a Master degree in Geography and she's a doctoral student in social anthropology from the National Museum of Rio de Janeiro. Cristiane has been fighting for 15 years with indigenous peoples through the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples and Organization of the Northeast, Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo (APOINME). She represents indigenous peoples on the Genetic Heritage Management Council (CGen). She also represents Pernambuco in the UN Voice of Indigenous Women program, which since 2015 has been debating and proposing measures to multiply the space of female indigenous leaders. Among the actions organized by the group is the space for articulation of indigenous women in the Terra Livre Camp of 2018. She also participated in the organizing committee of the 1st March of Indigenous Women of Brazil, in July 2019.
Gianpaolo Baiocchi, professor at NYU, is a sociologist and an ethnographer interested in questions of politics and culture, critical social theory, and cities. He heads Gallatin’s Urban Democracy Lab (NYU), launched in 2014, which provides a space for scholars and practitioners to collaborate and exchange ideas for cultivating just, sustainable, and creative urban futures. An engaged scholar, Baiocchi was one of the founders of the Participatory Budgeting Project and continues to work with groups improving urban democracy. His most recent work is Popular Democracy: The Paradox of Participation (Stanford University Press, 2016), co-authored with Ernesto Ganuza, The Civic Imagination: Making a Difference in American Political Life (co-authored with E. Bennett, A. Cordner, S. Savell, and P. Klein; Paradigm Publishers, 2014) examines the contours and limits of the democratic conversation in the US today. He is editor of many other books, among them Radicals in Power: Experiments in Urban Democracy in Brazil (Zed Press, 2003).
Salo Coslovsky is professor at the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, whose research analyzes how governments in developing countries build legal authority and use it to influence routine business practices. He is particularly interested in the enforcement of labor, environmental, food safety, and similar regulations that protect vulnerable groups from exploitation and abuse. He conducts most of his research in Brazil, and has studied numerous industries, including the production of pig-iron, sugar and ethanol, brazil-nuts, farmed shrimps, cattle ranching, and more. In addition to his academic work, he has advised Brazilian and multilateral organizations, including the Ministry of Environment, the Environmental Protection Agency, the International Labor Organization, and the Inter-American Development Bank on matters of policy design and implementation. He received an M.A. in Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University; Ph.D. in Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Natalia de Campos, is a co-founder of Defend Democracy in Brazil Committee (DDB) and a theater and performance artist, producer, writer and translator living in NYC, who holds a B.A. in History (University of São Paulo), and M.F.A. in Performance & Interactive Media Arts (CUNY- Brooklyn College. With DDB, Natalia helped lead over 100 protests since February 2016, from before the illegal impeachment of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, question the unilateral event on the Carwash operations back on February/2017 at Columbia University, denouncing the then Judge Sergio Moro and his biased conducting of trial in Brazil, much before the evidence released by The Intercept. She helped drive the coalition #cancelBolsonaro, which pushed for the cancellation of Bolsonaro's visit to the city for the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce award "Person of the Year". DDB is a member of the US Network for Democracy in Brazil, with over 45 Universities and dozens of activist’s groups as members from across the country.
Maria Luisa Mendonça is a research scholar at the Center for Place, Culture and Politics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), holds a PhD in Human Geography from the Department of Philosophy, Literature and Social Sciences at University of São Paulo/Brazil (USP). She is co-director of Rede Social de Justiça e Direitos Humanos (Network for Social Justice and Human Rights) in Brazil and the editor of the book “Human Rights in Brazil,” published annually since 2000. Her recent book, Political Economy of Agribusiness (Annablume, Sāo Paulo, 2018) demonstrates the central role of the food system in international relations as a result of a dialectical movement of economic crisis and expansion in connection with critical areas such as trade agreements, financial markets, environmental justice, and transnational activism.
José Octavio Orsag Molina is currently a History Ph.D. student at NYU. His research is mainly focused on the expansion of the economic frontiers in the nineteenth and twentieth-century and the conflicts with the indigenous population in the Amazon forest. His latest research is part of the national prize in social sciences at the Centro de Investigaciones Sociales (CIS) in Bolivia, titled "Circuitos comerciales durante el auge de la goma boliviano (1810-1912)" in which he shows how the emergence of economic circuits in the Bolivian lowlands during the nineteenth century—that played an important role for Santa Cruz economic growth in the twentieth century—were constructed upon the expansion of rubber production in the Bolivian Amazon. He is also part of the environmentalist activist organization En Primera Persona that since 2015 have constantly opposed to neoliberal extractivist politics in Bolivia.
Pablo Solon is a social and environmental activist and former ambassador for the Plurinational State of Bolivia to the United Nations (2009-June 2011). As Ambassador to the UN, Solón spearheaded successful resolutions on the Human Right to Water, International Mother Earth Day, Harmony with Nature, and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He was the chief negotiator for Climate Change of Bolivia and helped organize the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth (April 2010). Solón was the Executive Director of Focus on the Global South in Asia (2012-2015) and currently is the Director of Fundación Solón - Bolivia.
Barbara Weinstein is Silver Professor of History at NYU and Past President of the American Historical Association. Her publications include The Amazon Rubber Boom, 1850-1920 (1983), For Social Peace in Brazil: Industrialists and the Remaking of the Working Class in São Paulo (1996), and The Color of Modernity: São Paulo and the Making of Race and Nation in Brazil (2015). Her articles have appeared in the American Historical Review, the Hispanic American Historical Review, ILWCH, Journal of Women’s History, Radical History Review, the International Review of Social History, and the Revista Brasileira de História, among others. Her research has received support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. In 2017-18 she was a fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers where she worked on an intellectual biography of the pioneering Latin Americanist Frank Tannenbaum.
Alejandro Velasco is a historian of modern Latin America at NYU whose research and teaching interests are in the areas of social movements, urban culture and democratization. Before joining the Gallatin faculty, Professor Velasco taught at Hampshire College, where he was a Five College Fellow, and at Duke University. His most recent book is Barrio Rising: Urban Popular Politics and the Making of Modern Venezuela (University of California Press, 2015). His teaching record includes interdisciplinary courses on contemporary Latin America, including seminars on human rights, cultural studies, and urban social movements; historical methods courses on 20th-century revolutions; graduate history courses on urban political history and workshops with primary and secondary school educators. Professor Velasco’s research has won major funding support from the Social Science Research Council, the American Historical Association, the Ford Foundation, and the Mellon Foundation, among others. He is also the Executive Editor at The NACLA Report on the Americas.
Tom Kruse is Program Director at Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and adjunct professor at The New School.
Sponsored by the Center for Latin American and Caribbeans Studies (CLACS), North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA), NYU Urban Democracy Lab, NYU Gallatin Human Rights and New York University Gallatin School of Individualized Study