Amazonia

A Section of the Latin American Studies Association

Section Annual Reports

Amazonia Section
Latin American Studies Association

Activities Report 2020-2021 Submitted June 2021

Prepared by Riccarda Flemmer, Co-Chair; Amanda M. Smith, Co-Chair & Connie Campbell, Secretary

Membership

In our second year as a section we have grown our membership to 109 members, and we continue to work on expanding our membership. We are also active on social media with 97 followers on Facebook, membership up 8% over the past quarter, and 202 Twitter followers.

Section Activities

Multilingual newsletter. We have expanded our newsletter to be multilingual (Spanish, English and Portugues) and changed its rhythm to being bimonthly. The newsletter has different sections, which a) highlight member research (Member Spotlight interviews), b) inform members about Amazonia-related academic opportunities & events (news and opportunities), and c) disseminate information pertinent to the section related to official LASA activities.

Section awards. In March/ April 2021 we held our second annual Amazonia section best book award and—as planned—our first annual Amazonia section best article award. We received only one nomination for best book and decided to postpone the award to next year. The best article award received 5 excellent nominations and the review panel decided on May 5. The winner as well as the authors of two honorable mentions were awarded with certificates at our business meeting at the LASA 2021 congress on 27 May 2021.

● Web page: In this past year, the Section was very engaged in maintaining and growing the Section’s web presence (both in the Lasa Amazonia Section page created and managed by Amanda Smith, and in the Section’s page within the LASA webpage), and engaging our growing membership in the Section’s activity through our email list.

LASA 2021 (Virtual)

● The section sponsored three panels and one co-sponsored panel with ERIP) [Average 29 participants in each session].

  • A Plurality of Practices: Urgent Approaches to Amazonia [27 participants] (Chair: Martina Broner, Organizer: Riccarda Flemmer)
  • Inter-section Panel With ERIP: One Amazonia, Many Ontologies: Interculturality And Crisis (Chair: Amanda Smith/LASA Section Chair, Organizer: Lucas Savino, Huron University, postponed from LASA 2020 [24 participants]
  • Amazon Cities: Urban Processes And Morphologies (Chair: Simon Uribe, Organizer: C. Erik Vergel-Tovar)
  • Mesa Redonda: Diálogos Emergentes: Recent Research On Amazonia (Chair: Amanda M. Smith, Organizer: Susanna Hecht) [32 participants]

● Additionally, we help promote these other Amazonia-themed panels not officially sponsored by the Section:

  • Experiencias De Gestión De La Pandemia De Covid-19 En Comunidades Campesinas E Indígenas De Los Andes Y La Amazonía Peruana: Acercamientos Interdisciplinarios (Chairs: Emmanuelle Piccoli; Deborah Delgado, Organizer: Emmanuelle Piccoli **not sponsored by our section
  • El Aumento De Las Desigualdades Educativas En La Amazonía En La Intersección De Las Emergencias Socioeconómicas, Ambientales Y De Salud (Chair: Tuija M. Veintie, Organizer: Tuija M. Veintie) **not sponsored by our section

Business Meeting We held our business meeting via Zoom on May 27, 2021 from 7-8:45pm EDT with 20 participants from the U.S., Europe and Latin America.

Present:  

1 Amanda Smith, Section Co-Chair (outgoing) University of California Santa Cruz United States

2 Riccarda Flemmer, Section Co-Chair University of Hamburg Germany

3 Martina Broner, Section Treasurer (outgoing) Universidad de Cornell United States

4 Connie Campbell, Section Secretary (outgoing)/ Section Council Member (incoming) University of Florida and independent consultant Lima-Peru

5 Jessica Solórzano, Section Council Member (outgoing)/ Section Secretary (incoming) Universidade Federal do Pará, Brasil - Phd Candidate in: Núcleo de Altos Estudos Amazônicos (NAEA) Brazil

6 Sarah J. Townsend, Section Council Member Penn State University United States

7 Deborah Delgado, Section Co-Chair (incoming) Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú Peru

8 Kevin W. Ennis, Section Treasurer (incoming) Brown University United States

9 Susanna Hecht, Section Council Member (incoming) University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) United States

10 Cari Maes, Section Council Member (outgoing) Oregon State University United States

11 Andrea Sempertegui University of Giessen Germany

12 Andres Obando Universidad del Valle (UNIVALLE) Colombia

13 Bianca Moro de Carvalho Universidade Federal do Amapá Brasil

14 Cesar Gamboa DAR--Derechos, Ambiente y Recursos Peru

15 Christine Hunefeldt Von Humboldt Academy Peru

16 Diana Cordoba Queens University Canada

17 Natalia Buitron University of Oxford UK

18 Sarah Sarzynski Claremont McKenna College United States

19 Victoria Saramago University of Chicago United States

20 Francisco Castillo Universidad Nacional de la Amazonía Peruana (UNAP) Peru

Co-chair Amanda Smith welcomed the new officers of the section and warmly thanked the outgoing members of the section Executive Committee. She also gave a summary of section accomplishments in our second year. The Section’s Secretary Connie Campbell and the Treasurer Martina Broner informed us about the developments and current status of the Section’s social media accounts and the financial resources. Co-chair Riccarda Flemmer summarized the process of the Best Book Award (postponed) and the Best Article Award. In the name of the Best Article Selection Committee and the Executive Committee the winning contributions were honored and their authors were awarded with certificates.

Most of the meeting was dedicated to planning for the section’s future activities (including possible uses of the Section’s $1600 funds) with the following aims: 1) strengthen the exchange and conjoint work of section members; 2) create support for younger scholars, 3) strengthen and maybe formalize relationships with Amazonian Indigenous, activist and research institutions.

Several future initiatives, to achieve our objectives, came out of the meeting:

1) Strengthen the exchange and conjoint work of section members:

● The section will survey their members’ research interests in order to facilitate conjoint works by sharing a paragraph or two of research interests.

● The Executive Committee will discuss the creation of virtual ‘mini-mesas’ among Section Members to share research results and interests and the installation of regularly held reading or writing groups for peer review of emerging work.

● Use the LASA Section webpage, FB page and other media to create synergies and connections with members. Ideas include sharing published research, research interests and other ideas.

2) Create support for younger scholars and Indigenous participants:

● The section recognizes the need to increase the participation of Indigenous peoples at LASA congresses as well as the necessity to support younger scholars working on Amazonian topics.

● The Executive Committee will discuss the possibility to create Becas/ Funding for Indigenous participants at LASA with its financial resources and to create an Amazonia Section Dissertation Award.

3) Strengthen and maybe formalize relationships with Amazonian Indigenous, activist and research institutions:

● The section notes an increasing activism and visibility of Amazonian groups in civil society (Indigenous, local communities, women, artisans, environment—green groups, climate and justice activists, student groups, etc.) in both rural and urban Amazonia. Given that many of these groups have strong on-line presence, this offers a great opportunity for the Section to more directly engage with and support these groups and movements as we all slowly and safely emerge from the pandemic.

● The Executive Committee will discuss the proceeding for publishing solidarity statements and the ways in which the connections with indigenous peoples/ activists and Latin American/ Amazonian research institutions can be strengthened. This could help facilitate cooperation agreements among Amazonian and U.S. or other universities

● The Executive Committee will also consider using our FB and Twitter accounts to further engage with these and other Amazonian groups, as appropriate.

Election Results The resulting slate of new section officers as of June 1, 2021 is as follows:

New Executive Committee members:

○ Deborah Delgado Pugley (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, PUCP REPLACING Amanda M. Smith), will serve as co-chair through 2023

○ Jessica Solorzano (Universidade Federal do Pará, Brasil - Phd Candidate in: Núcleo de Altos Estudos Amazônicos (NAEA, REPLACING Connie Campbell), will serve as secretary through 2023.

○ Kevin W. Ennis (Brown University, REPLACING Martina Broner), will serve as treasurer through 2023.

○ Nuevos miembros del consejo: Connie Campbell y Susanna Hecht

The following section officers will remain in their current positions until LASA 2022:

● Co-chair: Riccarda Flemmer

● Council Members: Santiago Andrade de Silva and Sarah J. Townsend

In sum the Amazonia Section leadership as of June 2021 is as follows:

● Co-Chair Deborah Delgado Pugley

● Co-Chair Riccarda Flemmer

● Secretary Jessica Solorzano

● Treasurer Kevin W. Ennis

● Council Member Santiago Andrade de Silva

● Council Member Sarah J. Townsend

● Council Member Connie Campbell

● Council Member Susanna Hecht

Activities Report 2019-2020

Submitted June 2020

Prepared by Amanda M. Smith, Co-Chair & Connie Campbell, Secretary

Membership

In our first year as a section we have grown our membership to 81 members, and we continue to work on expanding our membership. We are also active on social media with 57 followers on Facebook and 202 Twitter followers.

Section Activities

Monthly newsletter. Since forming as a section, we have established a monthly newsletter aimed at a) highlighting member research, b) informing members about Amazonia-related academic opportunities & events, and c) disseminating information pertinent to the section related to official LASA activities.

Establishment of section awards. In July/August 2020 we will offer our first annual Amazonia section best book award. We received five nominations for best book and had originally planned to award the prize at the LASA Congress, but due to the pandemic, we postponed our review schedule. The review panel will submit feedback June 30, and we will announce the award shortly after. We also initially established a best conference paper award, which we withdrew over concerns of inclusion and equity when the conference went virtual. We plan to offer this award in 2021.

LASA 2020 (Virtual)

● Despite the challenges of the virtual conference arrangements, which caused three of our participants to withdraw, we nonetheless held an exciting inaugural panel, A Plurality of Practices: Urgent Approaches to Amazonia, featuring presentations by Diana Córdoba and Liliam Barros. Panelists who had to withdraw will be given preference at LASA 2021.

● We sponsored one inter-sectional panel with the ERIP Section (Ethnicity, Race, and Indigenous Peoples) entitled One Amazonia, Many Ontologies: Interculturality and Crisis. All participants chose to postpone until LASA 2021.

Business Meeting

To best accommodate our section leadership, we chose to conduct our business meeting outside of the regular LASA program. We held our meeting via Zoom on May 29, 2020 from 12-1:45pm EDT with 16 participants from the U.S., Europe and Latin America.

Presents:

  1. Amanda Smith, Section Co-Chair, University of California Santa Cruz
  2. Fernanda Gebara, Section Co-Chair (outgoing) CIFOR Consultant & independent researcher, Brazil
  3. Martina Broner, Section Treasurer, Universidad de Cornell
  4. Connie Campbell, Section Secretary, University of Florida and independent consultant Lima-Peru
  5. Jessica Solórzano, Section Council Member, Universidade Federal do Pará, Brasil - Phd Candidate in: Núcleo de Altos Estudos Amazônicos (NAEA)
  6. Sarah J. Townsend, Section Council Member (incoming), Penn State University
  7. Santiago Silva de Andrade, Section Council Member (incoming), Universidade Federal de Rondônia
  8. Simón Uribe, Universidad del Rosario- Colombia
  9. Katia Yoza, Section Council Member, Rutgers University
  10. Carmen Martinez Novo, Center for Latin American Studies, University of Florida
  11. Carolina Sá Carvalho, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  12. Riccarda Flemmer, Universidad de Hamburgo y GIGA Hamburgo
  13. Isabel Peñaranda, Universidad de los Andes- Colombia
  14. Linda Etchart, Human Geography, Kingston, London -United Kingdom
  15. Charlotte Rogers, University of Virginia
  16. Andres Ernesto Obando, University of Pittsburgh PhD Candidate Hispanic Languages and literatures.

Co-chair Amanda Smith gave a report from the LASA chairs’ meeting as well as a summary of section accomplishments in our first year. Most of the meeting was dedicated to planning for the section’s future, in an effort to achieve two main objectives: 1) strengthen the section internally by discussing ways to get more members involved, better serve our current members, and share information about member research; and 2) build relationships with other sections across LASA and in Amazonian circuits.

Several future initiatives, to achieve our objectives, came out of the meeting:

1) Strengthen the section internally:

  • A transition from a monthly English-language newsletter to a quarterly, trilingual audiovisual communication to include video research presentations from members, potentially as a live broadcast Zoom event. Each quarterly production will organize around a theme.
  • The section will build a website on the LASA server where we can host our quarterly content.
  • Members were interested in holding a conference in Amazonia when it is possible to organize such an event again.

2) Build relationships with other sections across LASA and Amazonian researchers and activists:

  • Members wanted to both build a stronger section and include more voices from Amazonia in our section activities.
  • Most members agreed that we must first build our membership and relationships with LASA. Nevertheless it is important to find ways to include others from outside of LASA. We discussed:

        ○ Writing publicity copy for the LASA newsletter,

        ○ Petitioning for an Amazonia track at the conference,

        ○ Developing more cross-section initiatives.

  • Recognizing the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Amazonian communities, we discussed ways we can raise awareness and possibly funds for affected people. We also shared information and perspectives on some of the many international, regional and local campaigns that are actively seeking funds. Incoming co-chair Riccarda Flemmer discussed the idea of creating a vetted spreadsheet of organizations where members can donate.

Election Results

We intended to conduct elections electronically. However, only one person presented themselves as a candidate for each of our open positions, making elections obsolete. The resulting slate of new section officers as of June 1, 2020 is as follows:

  • Riccarda Flemmer (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg REPLACING Maria Fernanda Gebara), will serve as co-chair through 2022.
  • Santiago Andrade de Silva (Departamento de Educação do Campo, Universidade Federal de Rondônia) will serve as council member through 2022.
  • Sarah J. Townsend, Associate Professor of Spanish & Portuguese, Penn State University, will serve as council member through 2022.

The following section officers will remain in their current positions until LASA 2021:

  • Co-chair Amanda M. Smith
  •  Secretary Connie Campbell
  • Treasurer Martina Broner
  • Council Members: Jessica Solórzano and Cari Maes

In sum the Amazonia Section leadership as of June 2020 is as follows:

  • Co-Chair Amanda M. Smith
  • Co-Chair Riccarda Flemmer
  • Secretary Connie Campbell
  • Treasurer Martina Broner
  • Council Member Santiago Andrade de Silva
  • Council Member Sarah J. Townsend
  • Council Member Jessica Solórzano
  •  Council Member Cari Maes