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“Cheapness as a Permanent Weapon: The Conquests of the New World in the Origins of Planetary Crisis” by Jason W. Moore: 4/13

Cheapness as a Permanent Weapon: the Conquests of the New World in the Origins of Planetary Crisis

April 13

2:20 – 3:35p.m.

In this lecture, the environmental historian Jason W. Moore reconstructs the origins of planetary crisis and the rise of capitalism since 1492. Recasting the invasions of the New World as a global “fix” to feudalism’s climate-class crisis, Moore examines how capitalism – as a world-ecology of power, profit, and life – took shape out of a Cheap Nature strategy that devalued the lives and labor of humans and the rest of nature. In this dynamic, the geopolitics of militarized accumulation, the geocultural abstractions of “civilization” and “savagery,” and the incessant transformation of webs of life into profit-making opportunities made for a potent cocktail of epochal transition. Examining especially the climate-class contradictions of the Little Ice Age, Moore reveals capitalism as a product and not only a producer of climate crisis – and illuminates how its early developments shaped today’s trinity of the climate class divide, climate patriarchy, and climate apartheid.

Please join us via Zoom for this April 13th event.

Memory Activism and Mexico's War on Drugs

Memory Activism and Mexico's War on Drugs Event Flyer

With Alexandra Délano and Ben Nienass

April 7, 2021

The widespread violence in Mexico by state and non-state actors since the government launched a military strategy against drug cartels in 2006 has generated demands for justice, including spaces of mourning and commemoration that recognize hundreds of thousands of Mexican nationals and migrants from other countries who have been killed or disappeared. Creating memorial spaces for ongoing forms of violence whose perpetrators and victims are hard to define has proven difficult from a bureaucratic, political, and aesthetic perspective. In this talk, Alexandra Délano and Ben Nienass examine and contrast three commemorative and transformative memorial interventions: The Memorial to the Victims of Violence, a disputed government-led project in Mexico City; the New’s Divine Memorial, focused on rebuilding the social fabric of a community in the outskirts of Mexico City; and the project to reclaim the Maclovio Rojas plot in Tijuana as a memorial and a community project.

Please join us via Zoom for this April 7th event.

Decolonial Ecologies, Planetary Crisis, and Climate Change in Latin American Studies: Spring 2021

Decolonial Ecologies, Planetary Crisis, and Climate Change in Latin American Studies

The LAS virtual lecture series explores the political, social, economic, and cultural dimensions of the environment in Latin America in various periods. Jorge Cuéllar, Assistant Professor at Dartmouth College, discusses the notion of disaster and the future of Central America (2/22). Macarena Gómez-Barris, Professor at Pratt Institute, examines the links between militant feminisms in the Southern Hemisphere and the anti-extractive imaginaries that center futures beyond colonial capitalism (3/9); and Jason W. Moore, Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University, studies the concept of cheapness in relation to the conquests of the New World in the origins of planetary crisis (4/13).

Click the flyer to enlarge the image..

 "Transversal and Decolonial Ecologies": a Lecture by Dr. Macarena Gómez-Barris: 3/9/21

Dr. Macarena Gomez Barris Event Flyer

"Transversal and Decolonial Ecologies" by Dr. Macarena Gómez-Barris (Professor at the Department of Social Science and Cultural Studies at Pratt Institute) is part of Gómez-Barris broader focus on how the strong activist and public presence of militant feminisms in the Southern Hemisphere is linked to anti-extractive imaginaries that center futures beyond colonial capitalism. To that end, Gómez-Barris addresses artistic, indigenous, and trans-feminist/queer approaches to extractivism and bring forward strategies that dismantle to build anew.

March 9th

3:55 - 5:10 PM

Zoom Link:

“On Disaster and the Future of Central America” by Jorge E. Cuéllar, Assistant Professor in Latin American, Latino & Caribbean Studies at Dartmouth College: 2/22

On Disaster and the Future of Central America” by Jorge E. Cuéllar, Assistant Professor in Latin American, Latino & Caribbean Studies at Dartmouth College

If Central America is exemplary it is perhaps for its punishing levels of misery. It is a region mired by intractable yet routine forms of dehumanization, abandonment, and a history of inequality rooted in war, repression, and exploitation. Recent outmigration, anti-corruption protests, and the region-wide struggle for food, water, and dignified housing must be understood as expressions against this wicked and suffocating lifeworld. Examining recent events—the pandemic, Hurricane Eta and Iota, government misrule—this talk addresses the region’s disastrous reality to consider the Central American future and its mobilities to come. 

February 22, 2021


Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 932 6377 8799

Poetry for the End of the World: A Lecture by Santiago Acosta: 11/5


Santiago Acosta is an American-born Venezuelan poet living in the United States. His latest collection, El próximo desierto, won the 2018 José Emilio Pacheco Literature Prize “Ciudad y Naturaleza” (Guadalajara, Mexico). He specializes in the intersections of aesthetics, politics, and nature in Latin America, with a focus on Venezuelan literature and visual cultures. He teaches courses on environmental humanities and climate justice at UC-Davis. In this virtual presentation, Acosta will read examples of his poetry and discuss the images and experiences that inspired El próximo desierto in the current context of ecological crisis.


Date: November 5, 2020

Time: 2:30-3:45 pm

Zoom link:


"Beyond Daca: Freedom University and the Undocumented Student Movement": 9/29

Beyond Daca: Freedom University and the Undocumented Student Movement

Freedom University is an underground school for undocumented students in Atlanta, Ga. It provides free college-level classes, college application and scholarship assistance along with social movement leadership training to undocumented students banned from equal access to public universities in Georgia. In this virtual presentation, Freedom University staff and graduates will share what it is like to teach and learn in the one true sanctuary campus in the world where every student is undocumented. They will discuss the recent DACA Supreme Court decision and the role of social movements to advance justice for undocumented immigrants. On Tuesday, Sept. 29, from 5:30–7:15 p.m.

RSVP to for the Zoom link.

"Virtual Book Presentation: Narratives of Vulnerability in Mexico's War on Drugs" 10/7

by Raúl Diego Rivera Hernández, Ph.D., Director of the Latin American Studies Program

Virtual Book Presentation: Narratives of Vunerability in Mexico's War on Drugs

The book explores the current human rights crisis created by the War on Drugs in Mexico. It focuses on three vulnerable communities that have felt the impacts of this war firsthand: undocumented Central American migrants in transit to the United States, journalists who report on violence in highly dangerous regions, and the mourning relatives of victims of severe crimes, who take collective action by participating in human rights investigations and searching for their missing loved ones. Analyzing contemporary novels, journalistic chronicles, testimonial works, and documentaries, the book reveals the political potential of these communities’ vulnerability and victimization portrayed in these fictional and non-fictional representations. Violence against migrants, journalists, and activists reveals an array of human rights violations affecting the right to safe transit across borders, freedom of expression, the right to information, and the right to truth and justice.

Zoom link:

"(De?) Monumentalizing Christopher Columbus" by David H. Colmenares, Assistant Professor at Boston University: 10/12


"(De?) Monumentalizing Christopher Columbus"

Recent events in the context of Black Lives Matter uprisings included actions against statues and symbols of the European overseas expansion, such as Christopher Columbus, and of colonial settlements, such as Junipero Serra. These events invite us to rethink the changing role that monuments and places associated with the colonial past of the Americas play in the present time. In this event, David H. Colmenares (Assistant Professor of Colonial Latin American Studies at Boston University) will talk about the monumentalization and destruction of Christopher Columbus’ statues in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and the US. A conversation on monuments and the politics of memory moderated by Professor Lowell Gustafson (Political Science) and Miguel Ibáñez Aristondo (Romance Languages and Literatures) will follow the talk. 

Date: October 12. 

Time: 2:30-3:45pm

Zoom link:

Contact Information

Program Director
Raúl Diego Rivera Hernández, Ph.D. Associate Professor,
Romance Languages & Literature