On 22 November 2016, MLC’s Marieke Riethof and Liverpool PhD graduate Malayna Raftopoulos (now Assistant Professor at Aalborg University) spoke at a book launch for the newly published book Provincialising Nature: Multidisciplinary approaches to the politics of the environment in Latin America at Senate House, University of London. Malayna and Michela Coletta (University of Warwick) co-edited the book, which included a chapter by Liverpool graduate Katinka Weber on conceptions of nature and territory among indigenous people in Bolivia. We asked Malayna, Michela and Marieke to tell us more about the book.

What inspired you to embark on this book project?


Malayna: “Our collaboration is unusual given that my background is in international development and Michela’s in intellectual history. Keen to promote more multidisciplinary research in Latin American Studies, we organised a workshop on Latin American environmental issues in the spring of 2014, with financial support from the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) and the Society for Latin American Studies (SLAS).

We envisaged both the original event and the chapters stemming from it as a space where scholars from different disciplines could come together and discuss interrelated aspects of the politics of the environment in the region.”

Michela: “We hope that the book brings symbolic and material aspects of environmental issues to a fuller understanding by combining historical and conceptual analyses while capturing new emerging spheres of knowledge production in their often difficult and complex relationship with the institutional spheres.”

This book crosses boundaries about knowledges and sensitivities on the politics of nature in Latin America. It offers a clear and diverse analysis of issues from climate change to the ontological turn on nature and society, from Pacha Mama to hybrid cultures, showing the impressive resurgence of Latin American political ecology.

Eduardo Gudynas (Centro Latinoamericano de Ecología Social, Uruguay)

Can you give us a sense of what the chapters are about?

Marieke: “My chapter on Brazil’s international climate change policy is part of my research on Brazilian foreign policy. I am particularly interested in topics that are not traditionally considered part of the foreign policy agenda, such as environmental politics, human rights, development and democracy. Despite Brazil’s reputation for valuing economic development over environmental concerns, the country has become an increasingly important player in international climate change negotiations.

“We are keen to continue our collaboration and our latest joint article looks at the social and environmental implications of Chinese investment in renewable energy in Brazil”.

For more information about the book, see the publisher’s webpage.