Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

CANCELED • The Rights of Nature and the Nature of the State in Latin America • Manuela Picq

Manuela Picq The Rights of Nature and the Nature of the State in Latin America

Thursday, March 21, 2024

4:00-5:00 p.m.


About the Event
Ecuador has been leading the change of paradigm towards the rights of nature globally. It was the first country in the world to inscribe the rights of nature in the constitution in 2008 and organized the first popular referendum to keep oil under ground in defense of nature in 2023, a proposal approved with over 60% of the national vote. Yet despite these groundbreaking pretenders the mining frontier keeps expanding, with ever more mining concessions in the Andes and Amazonia. Why is the emerging legal framework of the rights of nature unable to protect nature, even when it is backed by popular vote? In this talk, Manuela Picq retraces these precedents and their limits in Latin America, combining case studies from Ecuador and Guatemala to show the history of state-making is a history of extractivism, land-grab, and dispossession.

About the Speaker
Manuela Picq is a Professor of International Relations at Universidad San Francisco de Quito (Ecuador) and Senior Lecturer in the Departments of Political Science and Sexuality, Women’s and Gender Studies at Amherst College (USA). She is the author of scholarly books and articles, including Vernacular Sovereignties: Indigenous Women Challenging World Politics (University of Arizona Press 2018) and contributes to international media outlets. Her work at the intersection of scholarship, journalism, and activism led her to be detained and expelled from Ecuador in 2015. She was nominated a New Generation of Public Intellectuals (2018) and featured in the FemiList 100 (2021) of women working in law, policy, and peacebuilding across the Global South. In 2023, she coordinated the electoral campaign of presidential candidate Yaku Perez in Ecuador.