Mar. 21, 2019 – Christopher Loperena

Christopher Loperena’s presentation, “The Racial Logics of Extraction,” will take place in 160 Willard Building on Thursday, March 21, 2019.

Description: Through an ethnographic engagement with the politics of frontier making in Honduras, Dr. Loperena will interrogate the racial logics of the extractivist development agenda that cohered in the wake of the 2009 coup. This developmental mandate is crucially bound up with dominant racio-spatial epistemologies, which render indigenous and black peoples as barriers to national progress. The suspension of democratic norms following the coup was used to usher in the sistema de la muerte (system of death) that has not only claimed the lives of dozens of land and environmental activists, but also resulted in the concession of over 30% of Honduran territory to foreign and national investors. Dr. Loperena demonstrates the ways in which the expansion of extractive capitalism is contingent on a settler colonial logic of elimination, which positions blackness outside the spatial boundaries of the state’s sovereign political territory in order to hasten processes of accumulation for the national elite.

Christopher Loperena is a sociocultural anthropologist (Ph.D. Texas) and Assistant Professor of Anthropology at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His scholarship examines indigenous and black struggles for territorial autonomy in Central America, ethicality and subject formation, racialization, and the socio-spatial politics of economic development. His research has been published in American Quarterly, Current Anthropology, Geoforum, the Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, and the Journal of Sustainable Tourism. He was the César Chávez Fellow at Dartmouth College and then Associate Professor in the International Studies Department at the University of San Francisco before assuming his position at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He has received additional support for his research from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Inter-American Foundation.