Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationCalifornia, San Diego, U. of
Grant numberGr. 10127
Approve DateApril 8, 2021
Project TitleLana, Sofia (California, San Diego, U. of) "Glaciers, climate change and socioenvironmental politics: governing landscapes and endurance in Bolivia’s Altiplano and Argentina’s Central Andes"
Andean glaciers are among the fastest melting glaciers in the world, yet little is known about how this affects those who live in the Andes. Mainstream anthropology has focused on the potential impacts of climate change on displaced populations’ cultural knowledge. I join anthropologists who question whether this research obscures present-day concerns in the Global South linked to ongoing extractive practices. A pilot study I conducted in Bolivia revealed a valley where a myriad of stakeholders– indigenous Aymara communities, scientists, miners and state officials–are contesting their rights to sites of glacial retreat. My study suggests that global discourses characterizing this valley as ruinous may also be impacting the Aymara’s claims and paving the way for resource extraction. I propose to conduct comparative and collaborative ethnographic research between two glacial valleys in Bolivia and Argentina, the Milluni and Uco Valley, which share important similarities and differences. I ask: How do future-oriented climate change discourses impact sovereignty claims over these glacial valleys made by local indigenous and peasant communities? My project will analyze the distinct ways in which global climate change discourses interact with local social, political and economic factors and environmental forces, affecting people’s possibilities of survival in the immediate future.