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The Return of the Plantation (Panel) (NeMLA)

Organization: NeMLA
Event: NeMLA
Categories: Postcolonial, Hispanic & Latino, World Literatures, Aesthetics, Environmental Studies, Film, TV, & Media, African & African Diasporas, Asian & Asian Diasporas, Australian Literature, Canadian Literature, Caribbean & Caribbean Diasporas, Indian Subcontinent, Eastern European, Mediterranean, Middle East, Native American, Scandinavian, Pacific Literature
Event Date: 2021-03-11 to 2021-03-14 Abstract Due: 2020-09-30

The Plantation has resurfaced as a category of analysis for theorizing the arrangements of capital, labor, and nature within the Global Farm, making manifest the legacies of the plantation as a mode of production in the symbolic, economic, and ecological regimes of extractive capitalism (see, for example, Li 2018, Bissonnette 2018, Moore, Allewaert, Gómez, and Mitman 2019). In Latin America as in many parts of the Global South, these legacies are primarily visible in the acts of racial, gender, and environmental violence that constitute the processes of land alienation, precarious labor, displacement of people, and ecological destruction that occur during the expansion of transgenic monoculture. All these processes are generally enabled by the deregulated economies of neoliberalism, which have made possible the use of transgenic seeds and pesticides for intensive production of food, oils, and energy through different forms of exploited labor, thus transforming drastically the social relations of nature especially in rural peripheries and borderlands. As a result, mono-crops of soybeans, sugarcane, African palm, avocado, fruits, pines, eucalyptus, among others, spread unrestrainedly throughout Latin America with massive losses in biodiversity and local ecological knowledge accompanied by the appearance of both legal and illegal economies linked to extractivism and forced migration. This shows one of the essential aspects of the plantation system, which is its tendency to violently take over human and extra-human natures to destroy other forms of life and preclude any future other than that of the capitalist regime. The concept of the Plantationocene (Haraway 2015) attempts to grasp the continuity of the plantation capitalism in a planetary frame, showing, first, how large scale mono-crop corporations are main causes for global warming, and, second, how the effects of climate change are experienced unequally by those subjects and geographies determined by the histories of extractivism, colonialism, and capitalism linked to the plantation system.

This panel invites papers to theorize the return of the plantation in contemporary literature, film, and media from the Global South in terms of both the afterlives of the plantation in the present and what is unique about the plantation today, especially in reference to violence, exploited labor, migration, and climate change.

Please submit your abstracts and short biographical note by September 30, 2020, through the NeMLA submission portal. For more information, please contact me at juliof@sas.upenn.edu.



Sebastián Figueroa