Dr. Sharlene Mollett is the 10th Annual Janice Monk Distinguished Professor Lecture speaker. On Friday afternoon, she wlll give a talk on afro-descent women's land struggles in Latin America. Check out the info from the Centers for Geography and Development and Gender and Women's Studies below.
Friday 3:30 in S107 ENR2 building.
Reception to follow
Irreconcilable Differences? A feminist postcolonial reading of gender, development and Human Rights in Latin America
Over the last year, the United Nations set in motion two mandates: The International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024) and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (2016-2030). While these mandates seemingly align, particularly regarding gender equity and human rights, the invocation of equality and universal prescriptions, in fact, collide against the reality of a persistent emplacement of Afro-descendant communities as less-than-human. In this discussion, I draw insight from postcolonial feminist political ecology to unveil fundamental tensions underpinning these UN mandates and the concomitant development ideologies they embrace and exemplify. With a focus on Afro-descendant women’s land struggles in Latin America, I present a historicized, discursive and ethnographically informed reading of development thinking, shaped predominately from the histories, voices and writings of Afro-descendant and indigenous women scholars and activists. In turn, I employ an array of UN agency reports and agreements, key land and territorial policies, news media and secondary resources to trace a genealogy of gendered logics that, I argue, dehumanize Afro-descendant peoples and places in the name of development. Notwithstanding and contemporaneously, from these struggles emerge a rich array of spatially grounded knowledges that center the embodied meanings of intersectionality, the mutual constitution of indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples’ space, and the gendering of collective struggles over natural resources. Thus, in Latin America, I argue that Afro-descendant women lead a material and symbolic process of place-making that prioritizes life through struggles over gendered dispossession and the right to be human.
Sharlene Mollett is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Geography and the Centre for Critical Development Studies at the University of Toronto, Scarborough. As a political ecologist and cultural geographer, her research is positioned at the intersection of postcolonial political ecology and critical feminist/racial studies in the Americas. Her work interrogates the multiple ways racial ideologies and patriarchy shape natural resource conflict and management in Latin America, specifically in Honduras and Panama. Broadly her research interests include how place-specific representations and meanings of race and gender are bound up in land and territorial struggles; how indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants, and non-indigenous campesinos are incorporated into and resist protected area management, land regularization and tourism development; and indigenous and Afro-descendant feminisms in development thought. Mollett is currently the Editor for the Opinions and Editorial Section of Human Geography: A New Radical Journal, Hg. Her work is published in such journals as Antipode, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Latin American Research Review, Geoforum, Gender, Place and Culture, and Cultural Geographies.