Congratulations to Science & Justice Professor Kristina Lyons!
Lyons, Assistant Professor of Feminist Science Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz was awarded the 2016 AES Junior Scholar award for the article “Decomposition as Life Politics: Soils, Selva, and Small Farmers under the Gun of the U.S.- Colombia War on Drugs” is published in Cultural Anthropology (Volume 31, Number 1: 55-80) and accompanied in an interview.
The award is given annually to early-career scholars for an exemplary article in the area of environmental anthropology.
Abstract: How is life in a criminalized ecology in the Andean-Amazonian foothills of south- western Colombia? In what way does antinarcotics policy that aims to eradicate la mata que mata (the plant that kills) pursue peace through poison? Relatedly, how do people keep on cultivating a garden, caring for forest, or growing food when at any moment a crop-duster plane may pass overhead, indiscriminately spraying herbicides over entire landscapes? Since 2000, the U.S.–Colombian War on Drugs has relied on the militarized aerial fumigation of coca plants, coupled with alternative development interventions that aim to forcibly eradicate illicit livelihoods. Through ethnographic engagement with small farmers in the frontier department of Putumayo, the gateway to the country’s Amazon and a region that has been the focus of counternarcotic operations, this article explores the different possibilities and foreclosures for life and death that emerge in a tropical forest ecology under military duress. By following farmers, their material practices, and their life philosophies, I trace the ways in which human-soil relations come to potentiate forms of resistance to the violence and criminalization produced by militarized, growth-oriented development. Rather than productivity—one of the central elements of modern capitalist growth— the regenerative capacity of these ecologies relies on organic decay, impermanence, decomposition, and even fragility that complicates modernist bifurcations of living and dying, allowing, I argue, for ecological imaginaries and life processes that do not rely on productivity or growth to strive into existence.
(Image note: A small farm in the Andean-Amazonian foothills of Colombia. Photo by Kristina Lyons.)
The UC Santa Cruz community is committed to social justice. It has rich ties among the arts, natural and social sciences, and humanities. Inquiries based on science-and-fact are supported in a robust natural world. This is our mission.
During a time when current political developments appear to threaten this shared mission, the UCSC community pledges to reaffirm their commitment to social justice. Read their message to support each other, their students, and mission.
- Donna Haraway, Distinguished Professor Emerita, History of Consciousness Dept. Humanities Division, UCSC
- Karen Barad, Professor, Feminist Studies, Philosophy, and History of Consciousness, and Co-director of the Science & Justice Research Center Graduate Training Program, Humanities Division, UCSC
- Angela Davis, Distinguished Professor Emerita, History of Consciousness and Feminist Studies, Humanities Division, UCSC
- Beth Shapiro, Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department, Genomics Institute and Physical and Biological Science Division, UCSC
- Mark Diekhans, Technical Project Manager, Genomics Institute, Baskin School of Engineering, UCSC
- John Pearse, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Physical and Biological Sciences Division, UCSC
- Jenny Reardon, Professor of Sociology and Founding Director of the Science and Justice Research Center, Social Sciences Division, UCSC
- Rosa-Linda Fregoso, Distinguished Professor Emerita, Latin American and Latino Studies, Social Sciences Division, UCSC
- Jennifer González, Professor, History of Arts and Visual Culture, Arts Division, UCSC
- John Weber, Founding Director, Institute of the Arts and Sciences, Arts Division, UCSC,
- Farnaz Fatemi, Lecturer in Writing, UCSC
- Zia Isola, Director of the UCSC Genomics Institute Office of Diversity Programs and Co-Director of the UCSC Bridge to Doctorate Program, Baskin School of Engineering
- Anne Callahan, Human Resources Manager, Humanities Division, Retired, Alumni Association Outstanding Staff Award, 2012, UCSC
- Andrea Hesse, Academic Divisional Computing Director, Humanities Division, UCSC
- Kimberly TallBear, Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous People, Technoscience, and Environment, University of Alberta. UCSC PhD 2005
(Image Note: Juana Alicia, “La Promesa de Loma Prieta” in the Oakes College Mural Room. Photo by Nolan Calisch for the Collective Museum, with permission.)
Dear Science and Justice Friends, Colleagues, Allies and Communities,
Like many of you, all of us at SJRC have been reflecting, re-grouping and gearing up for action in light of the November 2016 US presidential election. We are re-committing to our core values and standing in solidarity with all those threatened by state sanctioned violence and repressive policies. We will work to empower and support students, staff, scholars and scientists through collaborative research and action:
- We will oppose threats to defund science, the Environmental Protection Agency and other crucial regulatory agencies, healthcare programs, and sanctuary cities.
- We will oppose the surveillance and targeting of professors (e.g. the Professor Watchlist) and climate scientists, Muslim communities (e.g. the “Muslim Registry”), undocumented immigrants, and community activists from diverse backgrounds and movements.
- We will support sanctuary campuses and safe spaces at UCSC, defend academic freedom in and beyond universities, academic freedom, oppose censorship and provide a platform for the views and research of our affiliates to create broad impacts across multiple audiences.
- We will continue to draw on our critical resources as feminist decolonial anti-racist science studies scholars to re-claim and enrich our commitments to objectivity, truth and social and environmental justice. In the face of “fake news”, climate denialism, new instantiations of eugenics, and all efforts to de-legitimize and de-fund science, we will fight for situated, robust and responsive inquiry and critical engagement. We will work to make our concepts/categories adequate for the present moment.
- We will build a public archive of the dismantlement of knowledge production, critical regulatory institutions, and healthcare and environmental infrastructures. We will track the efforts afoot to dismantle the EPA, repeal the ACA and privatize Medicare, and the attacks made against individual scientists, institutions, and disciplines.
- We will support our graduate and undergraduate students in pursuing “seedling” research and community action projects that can rapidly and flexibly respond to the problems, questions, and mobilizations that are most urgent.
- We will fight against racism, white supremacy, anti-semitism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, ablism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, and misogyny, and assaults on poor and historically marginalized people both here in the US and worldwide.
- We will continue to work from a place of caring response-ability, mutual support and fierce solidarity.
President Napolitano, Chancellor Blumenthal and members of the California Legislature have made statements to affirm their commitments to inclusion and diversity, and in particular in support of undocumented members of our UC community. We offer our unqualified support for all undocumented communities in California, and in particular support the UC’s commitment to the privacy and civil rights of everyone in our community. We stand with these leaders, and we promise to hold ourselves accountable when our actions and policies fall short.
Science and Justice Research Center leadership, staff and faculty-affiliates