Julia Leigh Radomski

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

American U.

Grant number

Gr. 10142

Approve Date

April 8, 2021

Project Title

Radomski, Julia (American U.) "Development Reassembled: An Ethnography of China’s Role in Latin American Infrastructure"

There is a new development leader in Latin America. Since 2005, the China Development Bank and Export-Import Bank of China have provided $150.4 billion in financing to Latin American governments and state-owned enterprises—more than the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, and CAF-Development Bank of Latin America combined. What does China’s role in Latin America tell us about how the “project” of development is being recast in the 21st century? Ecuador, despite being a small country, has been one of the primary recipients of Chinese development finance in Latin America. It has also been the site of substantial engagement, contestation, and resistance surrounding Chinese projects, particularly relating to large infrastructure. The Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric dam (CCS), the focus of my project, has sparked debates among grassroots activists and policy-makers alike relating to its implications for Ecuadorian development. How do differentially positioned and multiply scaled actors engaged with Coca Codo Sinclair conceive of their relationship to China as a development actor? How do these relationships and understandings (re)assemble contemporary meanings of development? I draw on the anthropology of development and science and technology studies to explore how CCS constitutes both a new and old development assemblage.