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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Cambridge Hispanic and Lusophone Research Seminars

Speaker: Dr Joanna Page, University of Cambridge

Title: Expeditions through Time along the Río Paraná: Decolonial Perspectives on Environmental Change

Date: Wednesday, 13th October

Time: 5pm

Venue: Zoom


Expeditions through Time along the Río Paraná: Decolonial Perspectives on Environmental Change

The German explorer Ulrich Schmidl travelled with Pedro de Mendoza to conquer the Río de la Plata region for the Spanish crown. The route he took along the rivers Paraná and Paraguay in 1536-37 was to become the favoured point of entry for Europeans exploring the interior of the South American continent. Inspired by Schmidl’s account, around sixty artists, scientists and other researchers from Argentina, Paraguay and Spain set out in 2010 to retrace his journey from Buenos Aires to Asunción. The texts and images they produced reflect on the multiple temporalities convened by a river that has been thoroughly transformed by colonialism and capitalist development, not least as the result of an ongoing mega-engineering project, the Hidrovía Paraguay-Paraná-Río de La Plata. In my discussion of the Paraná Ra’anga expedition and its afterlives, I will explore how decolonial perspectives on environmental change may unfold in an attentiveness to temporalities that are often erased in the dominant (linear, reversible, and future-oriented) time of the Anthropocene.

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