Spring 2018

States of Extraction: Nature and World Politics in the Americas

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-307


Manuela Picq (Section 01)


[IL, SC] The global energy boom has increased states’ dependency on commodities across the Americas. States are putting entire territories up for sale in an effort to turn nature into "quick cash." In Latin America, governments have expanded the extractive frontier, mining the Peruvian highlands and drilling the Amazon for oil without prior consultation and despite widespread opposition. Far from reversing historical dependencies, governments on the political Left have exacerbated this commodification of nature. This class explores states of extraction and offers an activist approach to political ecology in the Americas. We analyze water politics, extractive practices from Brazil to Canada, and Indigenous resistance like Bagua and Standing Rock. The course engages theoretical tools and comparative perspectives to grasp current debates in political ecology. It also seeks to foster a critical inquiry to bridge lasting divides between academia and activism.

Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Visiting Professor Picq.

If Overenrolled: Priority first given to seniors majors, then to a balance of sophomores and juniors, randomly determined, followed by first-year students and 5-college students


Attention to Speaking, Attention to Writing


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2021