We are very excited to be presenting at the LASA Congress – San Francisco 5-8th May 2022.
Panel Abstract: Rethinking ecology from the Pacific in Chile and Peru
This interdisciplinary panel explores how adopting an ocean-based perspective creates new possibilities for environmental thought in Latin America. Focusing on the Pacific coasts of Chile and Peru, the papers in this panel range in time from the 1950s to the present, and analyze materials including canonical literature, NGO campaigns, and installation art. Recent studies (e.g. Merlinsky and Serafini 2020) have highlighted the crucial role played by artistic practices and collective action in developing a political ecology that accounts for the coloniality and inequality bound up in the Latin American environment. Yet this is a story most often told from the land. This panel follows Hester Blum (2010) and Melody Jue (2020) by suggesting that an oceanic perspective allows new visions of identity, human and nonhuman rights, and the global circulation of environmental knowledge. A perspective from and through the ocean also permits a sharper focus on the problems of extractivism, neocolonialism, and pollution that shape contemporary Chile and Peru. Paul Merchant’s paper identifies these possibilities in contemporary Chilean intermedial art, while Rebecca Irons demonstrates how a campaign linking marine pollution to ceviche and health in Peru encodes social prejudices. Natalia Gándara Chacana explores the institutionalization and globalization of marine extractivism at a Chilean university, while Giulia Champion finds a call for sustainable relations with ocean in recent Peruvian art and music. The panel emerges from the project ‘Reimagining the Pacific: Images of the Ocean in Chile and Peru, c.1960 to the Present’, which has been funded by UK Research and Innovation.