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Organised by the Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS)

Speaker: Natalia Valdivieso-Kastner (University of Manchester, United Kingdom)

The Ecotheopolitics of a Greener Faith: The Catholic Church’s Quest for Environmental Justice in the Amazon

My research investigates the imbrications of religion, politics, and ecology in socially marginalised and ecologically vulnerable landscapes such as the Northern Ecuadorian Amazon. Between 2019 and 2021 I traced the involvement of a group of Catholic missionaries in the socio-environmental conflicts associated with the extractive industry (oil, mining, and timber extraction) in indigenous territories. The incineration of oil remnants and residual gases through gas flares is a common practice carried out by oil companies in the Ecuadorian Amazon and constitutes a massive source of air, watersheds, and soil contamination. Currently, 447 active gas burners operate 24/7 across my interlocutors’ pastoral areas and since 2017, the members of this ecclesial jurisdiction have been lobbying for the suppression of these environmental hazards. In this talk, I will use the campaign against gas flares carried out by the missionaries to examine the operation of ecotheopolitical regimes in rearticulating the relationships between humans and non-humans and producing new signifiers that confer nature with a non-secular value - opposed to objectification and commodification - that act as powerful mobilisers for my interlocutors’ pursuit of environmental justice. 

All are welcome to attend this free seminar, which will be held online via Zoom at 17:00 GMT (UK time). You will need to register in advance to receive the online joining link. Please click on the Book Now button at the top of the page to register.

Programme 2023/24
Autumn Term

November 16 
December 7
Winter Term 
January 25
February 15
March 7

The Latin American Ethnography Seminar is a forum in which scholars who conduct ethnographic research in Latin America and the Caribbean can present their work and get feedback in a collaborative environment, as well as build connections between researchers and departments. You can learn more about it here.

The seminar is currently hosted by the ILCS Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in collaboration with the Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CRoLAC) at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), the Centre for Citizenship, Civil Society and the Rule of Law (CISRUL) at the University of Aberdeen, and the Institute of Literature, Language and Anthropology at the Spanish National Research Council.

It is convened by Jessica Sklair (QMUL), Denisse Román-Burgos (University of Aberdeen) and Ainhoa Montoya (SAS & CSIC).

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