The Extractive Zone

Social Ecologies and Decolonial Perspectives

Book Pages: 208 Illustrations: 9 photographs Published: September 2017

Gender and Sexuality > LGBTQ Studies, Latin American Studies, Theory and Philosophy > Postcolonial Theory

In The Extractive Zone Macarena Gómez-Barris traces the political, aesthetic, and performative practices that emerge in opposition to the ruinous effects of extractive capital. The work of Indigenous activists, intellectuals, and artists in spaces Gómez-Barris labels extractive zones—majority indigenous regions in South America noted for their biodiversity and long history of exploitative natural resource extraction—resist and refuse the terms of racial capital and the continued legacies of colonialism. Extending decolonial theory with race, sexuality, and critical Indigenous studies, Gómez-Barris develops new vocabularies for alternative forms of social and political life. She shows how from Colombia to southern Chile artists like filmmaker Huichaqueo Perez and visual artist Carolina Caycedo formulate decolonial aesthetics. She also examines the decolonizing politics of a Bolivian anarcho-feminist collective and a coalition in eastern Ecuador that protects the region from oil drilling. In so doing, Gómez-Barris reveals the continued presence of colonial logics and locates emergent modes of living beyond the boundaries of destructive extractive capital.


"The Extractive Zone offers a glimpse into what kind of world may be possible through the everyday practices and knowledges of submerged perspectives." — Megan Spencer, The New Inquiry

"A timely study. . . . The result of substantive situated fieldwork. . . . There may be no greater testament to the value and urgency of decolonial approaches to embodied vernacular knowledge today." — Kimberly Richards, TDR: The Drama Review

“Extractivism and dispossession have a long history in the formation and transformation of the colonial matrix of power. Macarena Gómez-Barris provides a well-crafted theoretical and empirical update of this important dimension of coloniality hidden under the promises of modernity.” — Walter D. Mignolo, author of The Darker Side of Western Modernity: Global Futures, Decolonial Options

"Macarena Gómez-Barris makes several major contributions that shed new light on the ways extractivism operates while identifying pathways for seeing, imagining, and living beyond the imperatives of coloniality. Grounded in feminist and decolonial thinking, The Extractive Zone advances a methodology that refuses to separate the fight against extractivism from the struggle against modern colonial and patriarchal relations." — Nelson Maldonado-Torres, author of Against War: Views from the Underside of Modernity

“With astute precision, lyrical eloquence, and intellectual self-reflexivity, Macarena Gómez-Barris take us on a journey through Indigenous and Afro-Indigenous spaces in South America to imagine the extractive zone anew. In queering decoloniality, Gómez-Barris not only illuminates the hidden, the unseen, and that which is often neglected; she fosters an inspiring decolonial queer femme analytics. This brilliant book will make vital interventions for many years to come.” — Emma Pérez, author of The Decolonial Imaginary: Writing Chicanas into History


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Macarena Gómez-Barris is Chair of the Department of Social Science and Cultural Studies at the Pratt Institute, author of Where Memory Dwells: Culture and State Violence in Chile, and coeditor of Toward a Sociology of the Trace.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  ix
Preface. Below the Surface  xiii
Introduction. Submerged Perspectives  1
1. The Intangibility of the Yasuní  17
2. Andean Phenomenology and New Age Settler Colonialism  39
3. An Archive for the Future: Seeing through Occupation  66
4. A Fish-Eye Episteme: Seeing Below the River's Colonization  91
5. Decolonial Gestures: Anarcho-Feminist Indigenous Critique  110
Conclusion. The View from Below  133
Notes  139
Bibliography  165
Index  179
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