Author-Meets-Critics: Penelope Anthias' Limits to Decolonization: Indigeneity, territory, and hydrocarbon politics in the Bolivian Chaco

Type: Panel
Sponsor Groups: Indigenous Peoples Specialty Group, Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group, Development Geographies Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: Hoover, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Organizers: Joel Correia
Chairs: Joel Correia


This session convenes a panel of scholars who will offer critical engagements and reflections on Penelope Anthias' new book "Limits to Decolonization: Indigeneity, territory, and hydrocarbon politics in the Bolivian Chaco" published by Cornell University Press in 2018. The panelists' collective scholarship engages themes of Indigenous politics, post-colonial and feminist studies, geographies of difference, and the socio-spatial politics of environmental change and development with regard to Indigenous and traditional communities. Bearing this in mind, we anticipate a lively conversation where panelists will share their respective read of the text, Anthias will respond, and all in attendance can engage in the debate. The session is sponsored by the journal Human Geography, which will subsequently publish the interventions as a book review symposium following the 2019 AAG Conference.

For more information about the book, please see the text below which I have copied from the University of Cornell Press website:

Penelope Anthias’s Limits to Decolonization addresses one of the most important issues in contemporary indigenous politics: struggles for territory. Based on the experience of thirty-six Guaraní communities in the Bolivian Chaco, Anthias reveals how two decades of indigenous mapping and land titling have failed to reverse a historical trajectory of indigenous dispossession in the Bolivian lowlands. Through an ethnographic account of the "limits" the Guaraní have encountered over the course of their territorial claim—from state boundaries to landowner opposition to hydrocarbon development—Anthias raises critical questions about the role of maps and land titles in indigenous struggles for self-determination.

Anthias argues that these unresolved territorial claims are shaping the contours of an era of "post-neoliberal" politics in Bolivia. Limits to Decolonization reveals the surprising ways in which indigenous peoples are reframing their territorial projects in the context of this hydrocarbon state and drawing on their experiences of the limits of state recognition. The tensions of Bolivia’s "process of change" are revealed, as Limits to Decolonization rethinks current debates on cultural rights, resource politics, and Latin American leftist states. In sum, Anthias reveals the creative and pragmatic ways in which indigenous peoples contest and work within the limits of postcolonial rule in pursuit of their own visions of territorial autonomy.


Type Details Minutes
Introduction Joel Correia University of Florida 5
Discussant Sharlene Mollett University of Toronto 15
Discussant Tom Perreault Syracuse University 15
Discussant Cheryl McEwan University Of Durham 15
Discussant Joseph Bryan Department of Geography, University of Colorado, Boulder 15
Panelist Penelope Anthias Durham University, UK 20

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