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Book Talk – “Ghostly Invasions: Political Theologies of Fire in Post-Coup Bolivia”

May 18, 2023 @ 12:15 pm - 1:45 pm

Part of Culture Power and Social Change, Dept of Anthropology

Massive wildfires erupted across Bolivia only months before the violent ousting of the country’s first Indigenous president, Evo Morales Ayma, in 2019. Media critics depicted his mainly Indigenous followers as ghostly “invaders” who, having received property through his government, were using fires to clear land for agriculture. This talk approaches these events as points of insight into the racialization of climate politics, including the authoritarian tendencies of environmentalisms that preserve nature’s purity and reproduce narratives of racialized guilt and responsibility.

If fire frequently arises as a symptom of the end-times (waning democracy, global environmental crisis, and self-devouring capitalism) for Chiquitos activists it acts also as a redemptive force by which to contest settler fantasies of empty environments and of a future built upon the necessary erasure—and expelling—of living ghosts.


UCLA American Indian Studies Center
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Haines Hall Room 352
375 Portola Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095 United States
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