Juan Rivera

Juan Rivera is an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow in the Department of Anthropology of the Americas, University of Bonn.

His research examines cosmologies among indigenous groups of the Andes, particularly Quechua-speaking peoples of the Peruvian highlands. Among his publications is the book La vaquerita y su canto: Una antropología de las emociones (2016); the articles “Beyond the “dismal imagery”: Amerindian abdication, repulsion, and ritual opacity in extractivist South America” (HAU, 2019), “Warriors and caimans surrounding the Andes” (Social Anthropology, 2017) and “Recent methodological approaches in ethnographies of human and non-human Amerindian collectives” (Reviews in Anthropology, 2019); and the edited volumes Non-humans in Amerindian South America (2018) and Indigenous life projects and extractivism (coedited with Cecilie Ødegaard, 2019). He also coproduced a video installation and film series with Peter Snowdon entitled The owners of the land: Culture and the spectre of mining in the Andes (2013).

Research project: Indigenous Forms of Land Ownership Among Extractivist Endeavours and Land Policies in the Peruvian Andes

His project will focus on a pervasive element in current debates and actions directly dealing with environmental conflicts, indigenous peoples, extractivism, and the so-called Anthropocene: land. Its critical significance has nevertheless not been accompanied with an equally serious examination of its nature in precisely those spaces where global issues such as land-grabbing or environmental degradation are the most severe.

This project will advance knowledge about land in one the areas of the world that is most threatened today  through three coordinated actions: focusing on a geographical area that has remained peripheral in current debates, adding fresh gathered comparative data through long-term fieldwork, and finally including recent domains of analysis.

The project will develop an empirically inflected theory of the nature of land for indigenous and extractivist contexts. It will collect data through ethnography that is key for any further elaboration of the role that land will have in any description and management of the human and environmental components of Andean indigenous areas so strongly saturated by extractivism.

The three main question are the following: What is it land in those scenarios intersected by these four issues and in which different worlds clash, co-exist, permeate and entangle each other? In how many forms is “land” being understood and experienced beyond the inert object deprived of agency that neoliberal extractive practices and ideologies use?

Dates of stay: 01 October 2020 - 31 July 2021