In La naturaleza colonizada: Ecología política y minería en América Latina (2011), Héctor Alimonda highlights political-intellectual traditions in Latin America that, when elaborated within other geopolitical forms of knowledge, show us how “a long history of unequal, combined development and a global rupture of the society-nature metabolism increasingly penalizes Latin American nature and its communities” (22). Alimonda’s notion of political ecology in Latin America engages with traditions fundamentally dedicated to multifaceted practices of care—to the acknowledgment of and participation in sustainable economic, environmental, and political development and protection in face of regional, national, and international extractivist forces. How does care map onto and against these past, present, and future extractivist forces in Latin American political ecologies? In this vein, questions surrounding how the environmental and cartographic sciences have developed alongside processes of colonial and neocolonial extractivism might help us better understand how writers and artists throughout Latin America envision care for their communities and criticize extractivist destruction and violence—be them environmental, economic, political, social, or corporal—since the first colonial contacts five centuries ago.
This panel engages with the following questions, especially in the contexts of literary and artistic studies: How do different landscapes of care broach Latin American political ecologies in their treatment of (non-)fictional environments? How do geopolitical forms and systems of knowledge in Latin America relate to mediatic notions of space, power, and culture alongside scales of individual and communal care? How do literary and artistic narratives address and chart the broader impacts of extractivist practices and of individual and collective forms of care in sociopolitical spheres across the hemisphere?