FSU presents symposium on crisis facing Amazonia

Florida State University’s Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics and College of Arts and Sciences will welcome experts from around the world for an interdisciplinary symposium on critical issues affecting the future of the Amazon Monday, Nov. 16, through Thursday, Nov. 19, via Zoom.

The symposium, “Amazonia Now: Perspectives on a Region in Crisis,” will reflect on and examine challenges in the region including unhindered development, land conflict and violence, environmental catastrophe, deforestation, mining, fires and governmental action and policy that are threatening the Amazon’s future and its people.

The Amazon encompasses 40 percent of South America, extending across nine countries. It includes four European languages and more than 300 indigenous languages and cultures. This site of historic and continued conflict is the world’s largest rainforest and home to about 10 percent of the planet’s biodiversity. The Amazon River, with its approximately 1,100 tributaries, is the largest fluvial drainage system on the planet, representing 20 percent of Earth’s fresh water.

The symposium will provide a rich opportunity for Indigenous leaders, environmentalists, politicians, artists and academics to make connections and rethink the legacies, demands and prospects for the diverse groups and sectors that shape the Amazon. Participants will be invited to exchange experiences that propose alternatives to conventional development, and conversations will be held in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Amazonia Now is organized under the auspices of the Portuguese Program in the FSU Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics, part of the College of Arts and Sciences, with support from Harvard University, University of California, Davis, and University of California, Santa Barbara.

Symposium events are free and open to the public, but registration is required. Visit the event website for full details, speaker biographies and links to register for each session.

Events will include:

Sunday, Nov. 15

Film screening of “The Pink Indian Against the Invisible Beast” (O Índio Cor de Rosa Contra a Fera Invisível – Noel Nutels) by Tiago Carvalho, 4 p.m.
Introduced by Alice Lopes, Florida State University. Question-and-answer session to follow.

Monday, Nov. 16

Welcome by Reinier Leushuis, the Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics – Florida State University

Reading of “Curupira” by Juan Carlos Galeano, a homage to the people and land of the Amazon – Florida State University

Panel: Violence and the Discourse of the State on Indigenous Populations, 3 p.m.
Featuring panelists Idelber Avelar, Brazilian scholar and professor of contemporary Latin American fiction, literary theory and cultural studies, Tulane University; and Beatriz Azevedo, poet, actress, singer and composer; moderated by Oscar de la Torre, associate professor of Africana Studies, University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

Panel: (…) And the Verb Became Amazonia: Linguistic Diversity and Necropolitics, 5 p.m.
Featuring panelists José Ribamar Bessa Freire, professor and coordinator of the Program for the Study of Indigenous Peoples, Rio de Janeiro State University; and Ivânia Neves, professor at the Institute of Letters and Communication at the Federal University of Pará; moderated by Joaquim Barbosa, collaborating professor at the Federal University of Western Pará.

Tuesday, Nov. 17

Panel: Socio-Environmental Conflicts in the Amazon, 12 p.m.
Featuring panelists Susanna Hecht, professor of urban planning at UCLA and professor of international history at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva; Edna Castro, professor, Federal University of Pará; and Jeffrey Hoelle, associate professor of anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara; moderated by Jessica Carey-Webb, Natural Resources Defense Council.

Panel: People of the Forest Beyond the State, 2 p.m.
Featuring panelists Stefano Varese, professor emeritus of Native American studies, University of California, Davis; Aparecida Vilaça, professor of social anthropology, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; and Carolina Comandulli, co-founder of CLOSER, a multidisciplinary research group on Brazilian socio-environmental research, member of the Extreme Citizen Science research group and member of the Centre for the Anthropology of Sustainability; moderated by Amanda M. Smith, assistant professor of Latin American literature, University of California, Santa Cruz.

Wednesday, Nov. 18

Panel: People of the Rainforest, 12 p.m.
Featuring panelists John Hemming, world authority on Brazilian Indians, the Amazon environment, the Incas, Peruvian archaeology and the history of exploration, and author of “Red Gold: The Conquest of the Brazilian Indians;” Barbara Weinstein, Silver Professor of History, New York University; and Leopoldo Bernucci, the Russell F. and Jean H. Fiddyment Chair in Latin American Studies in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of California, Davis; and moderated by Alexandre Cardoso, professor in humanities and history, Federal University of Maranhão.

Panel: New Epistemologies: The Political and Ethnic Mobilization of Amazonian Indigenous Populations, 2 p.m.
Featuring panelists Enrique Leff, senior researcher of the Social Research Institute and professor of political and social sciences, National Autonomous University of Mexico; and Pedro Rapozo, professor at the Amazonas State University and professor of the Graduate Program in the National Network for the Teaching of Environmental Sciences; moderated by Diego Mejia, doctoral candidate in Spanish literature and cultural studies, Florida State University.

Panel: Culture, Memory, and Traditional Knowledge, 4 p.m.
Featuring panelists Airton Krenak, renowned Indigenous activist and leader, Krenak People; Erik Jennings, neurosurgeon and professor at the University of Western Pará and doctor responsible for the Zoé People; and Angela Mendes, activist, Alliance of Forest Peoples; moderated by Marcos Colón, postdoctoral scholar and Portuguese Program lead, Florida State University.

Thursday, Nov. 19

Panel: Resistance Beyond the Conquest: Isolated Populations in South America, 3 p.m.
Featuring panelists Antenor Vaz, Indigenous protection agent; and Ângela Kaxuyana, treasury coordinator for the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations in the Brazilian Amazon, co-founder and executive member of the Federation of Indigenous Peoples of Pará, and technical adviser to the Katxuyana, Kahyana and Tunayana Indigenous Association; moderated by Felipe Milanez, political ecologist and associate professor at the Institute for Humanities, Arts and Sciences of the Federal University of Bahia.

Panel: Legal Strategies of Resistance, 5 p.m.
Featuring panelists Kretã Kaingang, one of the founders of the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of the South, the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil, and the Camp Terra Livre; and Camões Boaventura, Brazilian federal prosecutor; moderated by Adriana Ramos, coordinator of the Policy and Law Program of the Instituto Socioambiental.