"Three Faces of Growth: Development and the Politics of Abundance in Peru's Andes"
When: Tuesday, March 23rd @ 12pm
Where: Online via Zoom
This talk presents some of the key findings from Hirsch's current book project. It is based on long term fieldwork in the Peruvian Andes during the 2010s, an era when Peru's economy saw astronomical aggregate growth due to simultaneous booms in extractive industry, gastronomy, and tourism. Hirsch explores the question of growth: in rural villages at the Andean margins of Peru's economic boom, what does it mean to experience economic growth as a daily fact of life? What does it actually look like? How does it feel? How, in other words, are people supposed to know that their country is growing? Hirsch follows three distinct development projects that are invested in recruiting rural villagers to the collective enactment of Peruvian economic growth as its newest entrepreneurs: one from the Peruvian Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, one from a non-governmental organization, and one from a mining corporation.
Eric Hirsch is an environmental and economic anthropologist whose research focuses on climate change, development, and how marginalized communities build their livelihoods. Most of his field research has taken place in Peru, particularly the southern Andean Colca Valley, and the cities of Arequipa and Lima. Hirsch has conducted additional research in the Maldives and the US. His current book project, Acts of Growth: Development and the Politics of Abundance in Peru (under contract with Stanford University Press) investigates economic growth as a shared understanding that comes alive through face-to-face interaction in rural Peru.
Hirsch's second major project delves more directly into the issue of climate change as a fact of daily life. In collaboration with the Barcelona-based project "Local Indicators of Climate Change Impacts," the project works to center how non-Western scientific observations in rural communities contribute to those communities' responses to climate change. Hirsch has published his research in journals including Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies, the Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, Geoforum, and Global Environmental Change.
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