White blood, black gold. Counterpoints on the Amazonian Rubber Boom

El Lunes, 2 de mayo 2016

Lorena Córdoba (Universidad de Buenos Aires)

White blood, black gold.
Counterpoints on the Amazonian Rubber Boom
(Bolivia, 1880-1920)



en el workshop de la Universidad de Colonia:

Commoditizing the ‘Wild’
Natural Resource Extraction and Ecological Anxieties  (18th to 21st Centuries)

Professor Dr Michael Bollig (Anthropology, University of Cologne)
Dr Stefanie Gänger, Assistant Professor (Juniorprofessorin) (History, University of Cologne)

Fritz Thyssen Stiftung, Apostelnkloster 13-15, 50672 Cologne

This workshop is concerned with discourses about the ecological consequences of the extraction of ‘wild’ fauna and flora for export trade – of humans clearing natural forests and hunting elephants, bears or lynx to extinction, but also of the introduction of new species and the massive artificial breeding or cultivation of existing ones for the purpose of feeding ‘wild’ natural commodities into global value chains. The workshop brings together papers that, while adopting a wide range of disciplinary perspectives – from anthropology, archaeology and history to geography –, share a spatial focus on chains coming out of Africa, South and Southeast Asia as well as South and Mesoamerica and the West of North America, the sites classically associated – at least in the ‘northern’ public vision – with ‘biodiversity’ and ‘the wild’, and still very much imagined in opposition to ‘civilization’, as ‘untouched’ nature.

The various papers reassemble anxieties about the ecological consequences of the extraction of ‘wild’ commodities – convictions of forest loss, anxieties about the rapid advance of desertification, desiccation and land degradation, as well as more recent concerns with climate change and alterations or declines in biodiversity and species loss – and situate these senses of ecological urgency and endangerment, as well as the values implicit in them, in historical and anthropological perspective. Focusing on the period generally referred to as the ‘anthropocene’ – the centuries spanning from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution to our present, during which human beings are generally thought to have become a major geological force – contributions both ascertain and interrogate assumptions of human primacy: drawing on theoretical approaches that dramatize the agency of non-human actors – theories from actor-network theory to the ‘ontological turn’ that reconceptualise the relationship between the human and non-human as symmetric, symbiotic and dissoluble – they also revisit the capacity of ‘the commoditized’, i.e. plants and animals, to act and affect commodity chains and natural resource extraction.

programa del evento: pdf

Commoditizing the ‘Wild’.
Natural Resource Extraction and Ecological Anxieties (18th to 21st Centuries)

09:00 – 09:30 Welcome & Opening Remarks

Panel I. Animals

09:30 – 10:15 Paul Lane (Uppsala University)
Socio-Ecological Transformations in the Wake of 19th Century Demand for Eastern African Elephant Ivory

10:15 – 11:00 Michael Bollig (Universität zu Köln)
The Anxieties and the Thrills of Extinction: From Discourses on “Remnant Fauna” to the Globalized Protection
of “Endangered Species” in Namibia’s Kunene Region

11:00 – 11:30 Coffee Break

Panel II. Affects

11:30 – 12:15 Timothy LeCain (Montana State University)
The Consumption of Humans: Commoditizing the Danger of Wild Grizzly Bear Attacks in Post-War America

12:15 – 13:00 Jean-Baptiste Pettier (Universität zu Köln)
Appreciating the Wonders of Nature —Trafficking, Consuming and Protecting Seahorses

13:00 – 14:00 Lunch Break

Panel III. Plants

14:00 – 14:45 Stefanie Gänger (Universität zu Köln)
Cinchona Harvest, Deforestation and Species Extinction in the Quito & Santa Fé Audiencias, 1752 – 1811

14:45 – 15:30 Lorena Córdoba (Universidad de Buenos Aires)
White blood, black gold. Counterpoints on the Amazonian Rubber Boom (Bolivia, 1880-1920)

15:30 – 16:15 Frauke Kraas & Carsten Butsch (Universität zu Köln)
Medical plants – Extraction and Protection in South and Southeast Asia

16:15 – 16:45 Coffee Break

Panel IV. Perspectives

16:45 – 17:30 Alexander Aisher (University of Sussex)
Extending Perspectivism to India’s ‘Last Wild Place’: The Ontology of Wildlife and its Flourishing and Decline
in the Eastern Himalayas

17:30 – 18:15 Thomas Widlok (Universität zu Köln)
The world as garden, laid in value chains

18:15 – 18:30 Closing Remarks

Lorena Cordoba simposio


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