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Week 2: Human Rights and Environmental Rights

Human Rights and Environmental Rights

In what ways do environmental rights intersect with the rights of indigenous people in Latin America and Afro-Latin Americans? How do environmental rights intersect with gender rights?

What role have Latin American citizens had in innovating on environmental rights?

How have Latin Americans engaged with existing national and international rights frameworks?

Assess the religious responses to environmental concerns in the region.

Primary Sources:

The Aparecida Document 2007

Papal Encyclical Laudate Si/ Care for Our Common Home. 2015 


Ecuadorian Constitution

Article about the Ethics Tribunal for the Rights of Nature, 17 January 2014, Quito, Ecuador.

World People's Conference on Climate Change Rights of Mother Earth

People's Agreement 2010 Cochabamba, Bolivia

The Earth Charter

Core Readings:

Choose 2 of the following readings:

Leonardo Boff. Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor. Orbis Books, 1997. and/ or Leonardo Boff, "The Ethic of Care" in Voice for Earth: American Writers Respond to the Earth Charter, edited by Peter Blaze Corcoran, et al., University of Georgia Press, 2008.

Alex Latta and Hannah Wittman, “Citizens, Society and Nature Sites of Inquiry, Points of Departure” in Latta, Alex, and Hannah Wittman, eds. Environment and Citizenship in Latin America: Natures, Subjects and Struggles. New York: Berghahn Books, 2012.

Guillermo Kerber "Church advocacy in Latin America Integrating environment in the struggle for justice and human rights." in Evan Berry and Robert Albro (eds.) Environment Religion and Social Conflict in Contemporary Latin America. London: Routeledge, 2018.

Escobar, Arturo. Territories of Difference: Place, Movements, Life, Redes, Duke University Press, 2008. (Introduction)

Sharlene Morlett, "The Power to Plunder: Rethinking Land Grabbing in Latin America". Antipode. 48:2, 2016. p. 412

Seminar Activity:

Watch the trailer for El Tema: Agua, presented by the actor and producer, Gael García Bernal and the writer and linguist Yásnaya Águilar.

What can it tell us about the relationship between human rights and environmental rights? How it it useful for the historian of environmental history and human rights? How effective is the narrative? How does it appeal to the audience?

Thinking about Public History:

TW: This interview contains a discussion on gendered violence.

Listen to the interview with the journalist, Nina Lakhani talking about her book about and environmentalist. How do race, gender and the protection of the environment intersect? Who Killed Berta Cáceres?

Further Readings:

Bulletin of Latin American Research. Special issue on Covid 19. 39:1, Dec 2020.

Acosta, Alberto, and Mateo Martínez Abarca. “BUEN VIVIR: AN ALTERNATIVE PERSPECTIVE FROM THE PEOPLES OF THE GLOBAL SOUTH TO THE CRISIS OF CAPITALIST MODERNITY.” The Climate Crisis: South African and Global Democratic Eco-Socialist Alternatives, edited by Vishwas Satgar, Wits University Press, 2018, pp. 131–47

Latta, Alex, and Hannah Wittman, eds. Environment and Citizenship in Latin America: Natures, Subjects and Struggles. New York: Berghahn Books, 2012.

Dore, Elizabeth. “Environment and Society: Long-Term Trends in Latin American Mining.” Environment and History 6, no. 1 (Feb., 2000): 1–29.

Margaret E. Keck, and Kathryn Sikkink. Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics. Cornell University Press, 1998. (Chapter 4).

Shawn William Miller, An Environmental History of Latin America

Guillermo Castro Herrera. “The Environmental Crisis and the Tasks of History in Latin America.Environment and History 3, no. 1 (Feb., 1997): 1–18.

Kristina Tiedje in Evan Berry and Robert Albro (eds.) Church, Cosmovision and the Environment: Religion and Social Conflict in Contemporary Latin America. London: Routeledge, 2018.

Newby, H. (1996) ‘Citizenship in a Green World: Global Commons and Human Stewardship,’ in M. Bulmer and A. M. Rees (eds), Citizenship Today: The Contemporary Relevance of T.H. Marshall. London: UCL Press, pp. 209–221. (See Chapter Scan)

Wittman, H. (2009) ‘Reframing Agrarian Citizenship: Land, Life and Power in Brazil,’ Journal of Rural Studies, Vol. 25, No. 1, pp. 120–130.

Whitman H. (2010) ‘Agrarian Reform and the Environment: Fostering Ecological Citizenship in Mato Grosso, Brazil,’ Canadian Journal of Development Studies, Vol. 29, No. 3, pp. 281– 298.

Valencia Sáis, A. (2005) ‘Globalisation, Cosmopolitanism and Ecological Citizenship,’ Environmental Politics, Vol. 14, No. 2, pp. 163–178.

Walker, D., et al. (2007) ‘When Participation Meets Empowerment: The WWF and the Politics of Invitation in the Chimalapas, Mexico,’ Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 97, No. 2, pp. 423–444.

Menegat, R. (2002) ‘Participatory Democracy and Sustainable Development: Integrated Urban Environmental Management in Porto Alegre, Brazil,’ Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 14, No. 2, pp. 181-206.

Latta, P. A. (2007) ‘Citizenship and the Politics of Nature: The Case of Chile’s Alto Bío Bío,’ Citizenship Studies, Vol. 11, No. 3, pp. 229–246.

Latta P.a (2007) ‘Locating Democratic Politics in Ecological Citizenship,’ Environmental Politics, Vol. 16, No. 3, pp. 377–393.

Jelin, Elizabeth. ‘Towards a Global Environmental Citizenship,’ Citizenship Studies, Vol. 4, No. 1, 2000, pp. 47–62.

Hochstetler, K., and Keck, M. E. Greening Brazil: Environmental Activism in State and Society. Durham: Duke University Press, 2007.

James Holston, Insurgent Citizenship: Disjunctions of Democracy and Modernity in Brazil. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008.

David V. Carruthers, Environmental Justice in Latin America: Problems, Promise, and Practice. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008.

Jose Esteban Castro, Water, Power, and Citizenship: Social Struggle in the Basin of Mexico. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

Some films and podcasts:

Nina Lakhani talks about her book about the murder of an environmentalist. Who Killed Berta Cáceres?