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Plantation Spaces and the Limits of the Plantationocene

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups:
Organizers: Christopher Lesser
Chairs: Jovan Lewis


Plantation Spaces and the Limits of the Plantationocene

In preface to the 1958 historical monograph Vassouras, Stanley Stein wrote: “coffee in Brazil has molded past and present social and economic patterns.” That justification of the book that followed–a fine-grained historical study of the municipality of Vassouras–also encoded a historiographical argument regarding the global scope of phenomena affecting possibilities for temporal change in a rural society. At the time, the Stein’s were not the only ones thinking about history in these terms. Vassouras’ conditions of possibility are also evident in Sidney Mintz’s 1960 Worker in the Cane, Manuel Moreno Fraginals’ El Ingenio (1964), and George L. Beckford’s 1972 Persistent Poverty. Each of these texts suggests something of the “migratory” character of the plantation described by Katherine McKittrick (2013). Her words also illuminate a methodological and theoretical problem that each of the aforementioned studies performs with regard to the historiography of an apparently iterative space. As the “plantationocene” has become a theoretical lens for looking at an entire geological age (Haraway 2015) how exactly do we understand the social and political specificities associated with actually existing plantations? How do plantation spaces continue to “mold past and present social and economic patterns”? And what are the limits of such productions of space?


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Christopher Lesser*, , “Stones the Builder Refused”: an Archaeological Case Study of Brazil’s Environmental Law 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Viridiana Hernandez*, University of California - Davis, The Avocado Ecology: Deforestation, Land-Tenure and Migration in Mexico’s Sierra Purépecha, 1953-1997 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Isabel Currie*, Universidad del Rosario, Rebel ecologies: The FARC’s role in the transition from coca to the cattle-grazing economy in the Caquetá, Colombia 15 12:00 AM
Discussant Jovan Lewis University of California - Berkeley 15 12:00 AM
Discussant Juliet Lu University of California - Berkeley 15 12:00 AM

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