Environment, Health and Humanities

Playa Manzanillo

Environment, Health + Humanities (EnH+Hu) in Latin America is as a cross-disciplinary approach that brings together history, philosophy, cultural studies, art and literature, social theory, environmental science, global health, energy, and technology studies (STS) to offer new forms of critical representation and narration of the politics of nature and health in the region. By virtue of its hybrid nature, EnH+Hu combines skills, methods, and theories from several humanities disciplines to the analysis of problems and issues of high relevance for society in the context of new science and technology developments.

CLACS EnH+Hu grew out of the Hemispheric Indigeneity in Global Terms project that looked at the resilience of Native and Indigenous communities in the region. Their marginality but also centrality after centuries of negligence, persecution, repression and attempts at integration is remarkable. The project became a scholarly perspective that in comparative/contextual fashion has been looking at Indigenous worldviews, in particular the ones related to self-representation and governability, health and environment, and the ontology of being Native/Indigenous in today’s global age.

EnH+Hu and HI are ongoing collaborative programs between CLACS and many departments, units, scholars, and students at Duke University and beyond.


SPRING 2018 COURSE: Narrating Nature: Documentaries for Environmental Studies. Instructor: Miguel Rojas-Sotelo | Env/Latamer 390S | 590S

Documentary (non-fiction) research-based films, photo essays, radio documentaries, hypermedia documents, and long-form analytical narratives shed light on our world. They portray the environment, real people, events, and situations - with an aesthetic sensibility that transforms these depictions into compelling statements about all aspects of our environmental, social, cultural, political, and economic lives. In the course of a couple of generations we have managed to raise the temperature of an entire planet and to knock its most basic systems out of kilter. Although we know about it, we don’t know about it. It hasn’t registered in our gut; it isn’t part of our culture (yet). Art, like religion, is one of the ways we digest what is happening, and proceed to action.

Francia Márquez, 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize, Colombia, by Goldman Prize

We celebrate Francia Márquez-Mina's Goldman Environmental Prize Latin American, 2018. Francia is a good friend of our program and participated with other victims of violence in Colombia in our 2015 event on Peace in Colombia: A formidable leader of the Afro-Colombian community, Francia Márquez organized the women of La Toma and stopped illegal gold mining on their ancestral land. She exerted steady pressure on the Colombian government and spearheaded a 10-day, 350-mile march of 80 women to the nation’s capital, resulting in the removal of all illegal miners and equipment from her community. Learn more: https://www.goldmanprize.org/francia Visit https://www.goldmanprize.org

SPRING 2018 EVENT: Reading Group GAVIOTAS A VILLAGE TO REINVENT THE WORLD (Alan Weisman, 1998). Thursday, February 8. 2018. Environmental Hall. 1111.

GAVIOTAS has become one of those cult books for environmental studies. Los Llanos—the rain-leached, eastern savannas of war-ravaged Colombia—are among the most brutal environments on Earth and an unlikely setting for one of the most hopeful environmental stories ever told. There, in the late 1960s, a young Colombian development worker named Paolo Lugari wondered if the nearly uninhabited, infertile llanos could be made livable for his country’s growing population. He had no idea that nearly four decades later, his experiment would be one of the world’s most celebrated examples of sustainable living: a permanent village called Gaviotas.

In the absence of infrastructure, the first Gaviotans invented wind turbines to convert mild breezes into energy, hand pumps capable of tapping deep sources of water, and solar collectors efficient enough to heat and even sterilize drinking water under perennially cloudy llano skies. Over time, the Gaviotans’ experimentation has even restored an ecosystem: in the shelter of two million Caribbean pines planted as a source of renewable commercial resin, a primordial rain forest that once covered the llanos is unexpectedly reestablishing itself.

Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez has called Paolo Lugari “Inventor of the World.” Lugari himself has said that Gaviotas is not a utopia: “Utopia literally means ‘no place.’ We call Gaviotas a topia, because it’s real.”

GAVIOTAS.jpg, by mlr34@duke.edu


LOGO GHFF 2017.jpg
LOGO GHFF 2017.jpg, by mrs


“Health Visions: Americas”, the festival will kick off with its first film on February 17 and then continue programming on February 27 to March 5, 2017. This annual celebration brings together filmmakers, scholars, medical researchers and practitioners, activists, artists, students and the general public to examine a global health topic of immediate concern. This year the program explores the impact of Zika, and other infectious diseases, traditional medical practices, public health and human rights, and the impact of migration on heath focusing on women’s lives in the Americas and the U.S. The program will screen 9 films, representing 7 countries. Of special interest is the visit of filmmakers Debora Diniz (Brazil), Mauricio Andrada (Mexico), Daniela Abad (Colombia), and Esteban Ramirez (Costa Rica) who will attend and introduce the film screenings. For the first time the Duke Global Health Film Festival will feature a student competition for short films (less than 10 minutes) addressing an issue of importance in global health. The competition is open for students (undergraduate and graduate) at Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill. The inaugural Duke Global Health Film Festival, held February 22-27, 2016, focused on infectious disease in Africa.

We are proud to present the following feature films and documentaries:

• Yawar Mallku | The Blood of the Condor (d. Jorge Sanjines, Bolivia, 1969)

• Zika (d. Debora Diniz, Brazil, 2016)

• Sacbé (d. Mauricio Andrada & Miguel Rojas-Sotelo, Mexico, 2017)

• Voices that Heal (d. Heather Greer & Delia Ackerman, Peru, 2011)

• Carta a una Sombra | Letter to a Shadow: Oblivion (d. Miguel Salazar & Daniela Abad, Colombia, 2015)

• Clínica de Migrantes (d. Maxim Pozdorovkin, USA, 2016)

• Migrantes Bitácora de Viaje (d. Mauricio Andrada, Mexico, 2013)

• Crossing Over | Identidad Sin Fronteras (d. Isabel Castro, Mexico-USA, 2015)

• Gestación (d. Esteban Ramirez, Costa Rica, 2009)



Contact for More Information:  Thomas Johnson: thomas.johnson1@duke.edu  |  Miguel Rojas Sotelo: miguel.rojassotelo@duke.edu  |  Kearsley Stewart: k.stewart@duke.edu | Bethzaida Fernandez: bfv67@duke.edu

Contact for Student Film Competition: John Bollinger: john.bollinger@duke.edu