Paulo Tavares


Over the Ruins of Amazonia: Colonial Violence and Decolonial Resistance at the Frontiers of Climate Change

This thesis investigates the history of modern-colonization of Amazonia from the early twentieth century until the neoliberal present, tracing the entanglements between spatial designs, political violence and environmental destruction in the process of colonisation of the forest and its people. In parallel, it also narrates the resistance of both local communities and the forest itself, showing how more than five hundred years of colonialism and anti- colonial struggles have shaped and re-shaped the material and imagined landscapes of Amazonia. Each chapter addresses situated struggles that reflect paradigmatic moments in the history of modern-colonization of Amazonia, and through their examination describe broader geopolitical and historical processes as they manifest in transformations of the social, geographic and ecological-climatic dynamics of the rainforest. In tracing the connections and synergies between political and environmental violence in the frontiers of Amazonia, this study draws a critical history of climate change, showing that the origins and causes of the ongoing destruction and destabilization of the Earth System––what it refers to as the post-climate change/Anthropocene condition––are intertwined with the violent history of colonialism in Amazonia.

Member of Roundtable Two