A post by Peter Jordens.
Lecture: “A decolonial Caribbean ecology: Pesticides and pollution in Martinique and Guadeloupe”
October 13, 2017, 3:30 – 5:00pm
Centre for Latin American Research and Documentation (CEDLA)
33 Roetersstraat (2nd floor), Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Beyond the tropical imaginary associated to the Caribbean, these islands also constitute sites of dangerous pollutions. Such is the case for the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe where there is a general contamination of the land, the water, the food and their inhabitants by chlordecone, a pesticide used on banana plantations. This carcinogenic organochlorine and endocrine disruptor may remain in the soils for more than seven centuries. Where the state authorities and governments have framed this pollution as an “environmental accident”, I highlight both the political responsibilities and the way the historical processes of colonization led to such toxic landscapes. On a theoretical level, I contend that the actions of local environmental NGOs against this pollution put forth an understanding of ecology where nature is readily historical, social and political, challenging the colonial foundation of the Caribbean: a decolonial ecology.
Dr. Malcom Ferdinand, firstname.lastname@example.org, is a post-doctoral researcher on the Confronting Caribbean Challenges project at the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) in Leiden. He was awarded the prestigious 2016 PhD Prize for Interdisciplinary Research by the Humanities and Sciences Institute of Paris (IHSP) for his doctoral dissertation An ecological thought from the Caribbean world: Political and philosophical issues of ecological conflicts (Martinique, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Puerto Rico) which was defended at the University of Paris Diderot.