a perfect storm | # 4 Eco-Extractivisms:
Latin American Perspectives on the Promise of the Green Transition

Thursday, 29 June 2023, 7.30 pm, diffrakt | centre for theoretical periphery

Conversation with
Michela Coletta | John Andrew McNeish | Itzell Torres | Nino Vallen

The green transition model counts on an unprecedented acceleration of resource extraction, as the European Commission is drawing up a proposal for what is called the Critical Raw Materials Act, a piece of legislation that will, among other things, push national governments to develop new programs for resource exploration. What can, in view of these developments, be learned from experiences in the Global South, where a neo-extractive age is already well underway?

Michela Coletta, John Andrew McNeish, Itzell Torres, and Nino Vallen will be in conversation around extractivism in Latin America from a variety of perspectives: historical, sociological and political, cultural and epistemic. Who owns the earth? Starting from this question, John Andrew McNeish will discuss sovereignty and citizenship in an era of ‘green transition’; Itzell Torres’s intervention will consider the notion of energy sovereignty by looking at the controversy about the neo-extractivist agenda in Mexico’s transition towards renewables; Nino Vallen will draw lessons from the time when Europe’s agrarian revolution prompted an unprecedented exploitation of South American guano, disrupting societies along the Pacific coast, producing social inequalities, environmental destruction, and a racialized exploitation of labour; finally, Michela Coletta will share some reflections on extractivism as a mode of knowledge production and on the possibility of non-dualistic and relational imaginaries rooted in Andean languages and cultures.

Drawing on these short presentations, the ensuing discussion will present an opportunity to reflect on the interconnections between the material and the symbolic realities of extraction as a fundamental way of life based on racialization and exploitation of humans and non-humans.

The event is organised in collaboration with Freie Universität Berlin and the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions.