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Vidas Hu�rfanas, Ciudades Torturadas y Derechos Humanos Ecosociales: Representaciones Culturales del Terror Minero en los Andes

  • Galindo Rodrigues Marcos, Barbara Robert...
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2021
eScholarship - University of California
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This dissertation analyzes cultural representations of the mining space of the Peruvian Andes from the second half of the nineteenth century to 1930. In it, I examine a selection of canonical and non-canonical texts that are illustrative of an anti-mining political imaginary that emerged during the nation-state building process and was consolidated in the first decades of the twentieth century. My analysis goes beyond the rubric of indigenism to focus on a cultural hermeneutic of human rights that uncovers the traces left by early victims of the necro-extractive violence of the liberal republican state. This critical approach allowed me to place these texts within a Latin-American genealogy of ecosocial human rights based on the tradition of natural law that cemented the debates on the legitimacy of conquest (Barreto), as well as on indigenous communities’ ethical demands and supranational claims of sovereignty over their sacred territories. Chapter 1 examines Juana Manuela Gorriti’s neo-Gothic novel El tesoro de los incas (1865), which inspired Peruvian writer Clorinda Matto de Turner to write her play Hima-Sumac (first performed in 1884). Examining both literary works together allowed me to analyze the foundational discourses on mining and nation through the lens of gender, as well as to explore the relation between biopolitics and ecology. Chapter 2 focuses on the representations of mining from socialist and scientific perspectives. I examine the report-essay La conducta de la compa��a minera del Cerro de Pasco (1914), by German-Peruvian social activist Dora Mayer, and the report Informe sobre los humos de la Oroya (1926), by Peruvian engineer Jos� J. Bravo. From a close reading of these texts, I deepen the discussion on the spatial politics and culture of mining terror, already begun in the first chapter. I propose the concept of “orphanization” to describe the compulsory process of proletarization of Andean peasants into a mining labor force, focusing on the genocide, ecocide and aenocide nexus of mining terror. Chapter 3 analyzes representations of the mining city from a witness’s perspective. First, I examine the formation of the mining camp of Morococha as depicted in a selection of images by Andean photographer Sebasti�n Rodr�guez. I then go on to analyze the essay “C�mo viven los mineros en Cerro de Pasco” (1936) by Andean writer Jos� Mar�a Arguedas. In both works, I explore the representation of the proletarianization process and the dehumanizing naturalization/routinization of the mining city. The main contribution of my dissertation is the proposal of two new concepts that can be applied to read other cultural representations of modern mining in Latin America. The first is the concept of “orphan lives”, based both on the concept of “bare life” by Giorgio Agamben, and the Andean notion of wakcha (orphan). The second is the concept of “tortured cities” or “tortured zones”, based on an Arguedas’ metaphor of the mining city, as well as on Foucault’s definition of torture. I propose both concepts to describe the eco-biopolitical dispossession of Andean lives by modern mining.

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