Expanding the Social World Downwards: Aquifers and Post-Extractivist Imaginaries in Costa Rica

A Talk by Dr. Andrea Ballestero, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Rice University
Co-sponsored by the People, Equity, and the Environment group at the Yale School of the Environment

The history of Latin America has been marked by extractivist waves, from colonial times to the recent neo-extractivist turn of leftist governments in the region. Costa Rica, however, fits awkwardly in this broad regional history. Not only has the country banned large scale extraction of minerals and oil, it is now turning to aquifers as dominant figures of its underground space. In this talk I examine that reorientation and how it requires a shift in the country’s spatial imagination. Everyday citizens are being invited to re-discover the world beneath their feet by substituting fixed stratigraphies with dynamic patterns of how water moves through the subsurface. As a result, Costa Rica’s social world is expanding downwards and people are being pulled into dynamic relations that link their everyday lives above the surface with the worlds underneath it. At stake are long-standing visions that render the subsurface an inert and petrified substrate. In the making is a potential post-extractivist spatial imaginary of the underground.

March 15, 2021
12 pm EST, Join via Zoom
Admission: Free, with registration

Registration: Event has ended

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