Towards a Latinx Eco-Conciencia: Treatments of and Responses to Environmental Crises and Privatization of the Commons in Contemporary Latinx Cultural Production




Valencia, Sonia Ivette

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This dissertation examines contemporary Latinx representations of environmental crises. Central questions guiding this dissertation include: How can Latinx art help illuminate our understanding of global environmental crises? Do Latinx artists approach environmental catastrophes from a unique or specific cultural vantage point and if so, how does it converge with and diverge from dominant ecological perspectives? This study's theoretical framework draws on Chicana feminist theories, decolonial thought, and indigenous eco-critical scholarship. I argue that the Latinx literary texts Under the Feet of Jesus (1995), Lunar Braceros 2125-2148 (2009), Dealing in Dreams (2019) and "Monstro" (2012), the Latinx and Latin American films Sleep Dealer (2008), Tambien La Lluvia/Even the Rain (2010) and Abuela Grillo (2009), and the Chicanx play The Beast of Times (2014) depict environmental crises as a form of (neo)colonization and present borders and dichotomies as colonial vestiges antithetical to our planetary survival. These texts center traditional environmental knowledge (TEK) and indigenous activism as critical to our planetary survival. I offer the term "Latinx eco-conciencia" to describe this unique approach to our ecocidal reality. Latinx eco-conciencia underscores non-hierarchical relationships with (non)human entities and points towards different spatial-temporal modalities. Latinx eco-conciencia expands our epistemic, political, and imaginary landscape to include more/other/alternative ecological worldviews and interventions.


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Chicana feminism, decoloniality, environmental studies, indigenous studies, Latinx cultural studies