Nature has been crucial in imagining the New World since colonial times. How has Latin America been represented through the idea of nature? What impact have such representations had on the region's identity? This interdisciplinary panel addresses such questions with a broad geographical focus.
Nature has been crucial in imagining the New World since colonial times. By representing the remoteness of both its natural and its human geography, Europeans have constructed a cultural, social and political "imaginary" that includes notions of primitiveness and barbarism alongside ideas of untouched beauty. Today, Latin America is a prime destination for ecotourism. How has Latin America been represented through nature in its multiple connotations (geography, race, gender, the body politic, etc.)? What impact have such representations had on the region's identity? How have Latin Americans responded over different historical periods? The papers on this panel will address these questions from various disciplines, including history, literature, anthropology. The panel will also offer a broad geographical focus (the Andean region, the River Plate, Brazil, Central America). The aim is twofold: 1) propose new questions and theoretical approaches in order to revisit existing categories; 2) discuss original works and debates from within Latin America which can be illuminating in relation to current compelling issues such as the exploitation of natural resources, localism versus globalism, ethnicity and national identity, animal/human relations.