Gastón Gordillo

Professor
phone 604 822 3797
location_on AnSo 2317

Research Area

About

Professor Gastón Gordillo was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He graduated from the University of Buenos Aires (1990) and completed his PhD at the University of Toronto (1999). He is a Guggenheim Scholar, was a visiting scholar at Harvard and Yale and a visiting professor at Cornell. He was also a resident fellow at the Bellagio Study Center, in Bellagio, Italy. His research has been funded (among others) by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and four grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). His book Landscapes of Devils: Tensions of Place and Memory in the Argentinean Chaco (2004, Duke University Press) won the American Ethnological Society Sharon Stephens Book Prize. His most recent book is Rubble: The Afterlife of Destruction (2014, Duke University Press), which won Honorary Mention for the Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing.

 


Research

Research interests: terrain, place, and territory; materiality, new materialisms, posthumanism; affect theory; ruins and ruination; critical theory; racialized spaces; protests and insurrections; the climate and ecological emergency; climate and agro-ecological activism; agribusiness, deforestation, infrastructures and soy supply chains in South America; Argentina; campesinos and Indigenous people of the Gran Chaco.

In my current ethnographic project funded by SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada), I’m analyzing how campesino and Indigenous residentes in the Gran Chaco of northern Argentina experience the effects of deforestation, soy farming, and the infrastructures of the soy supply chains. In particular, I’m examining how varios forms of grassroots activism are struggling to defend local forests from destruction and to generate agro-ecological territories in opposition to industrial agriculture.

My most recent book is entitled Rubble: The Afterlife of Destruction (Duke University Press, 2014; Honorary Mention, Victor Turner Prize for Ethnographic Writing). Based on extensive fieldwork in the region where the Gran Chaco lowlands meet the Andes, this book examines space through the rubble that is part of its materiality. Rubble proposes a theory of ruins as rubble that is based on the ethnographic examination of the material, historical, and affective ruptures congealed in lost cities from the seventeenth century, derelict train stations, overgrown Jesuit missions and Spanish forts, stranded steamships, mass graves, abandoned towns, and forests razed by agribusiness, as they are entangled with each other and with the towns, cattle ranches, farms, and annual collective events that exist around them. For the rural poor, these palimpsests of debris evoke —rather than dead relics from a distant past— the haunting traces in the geographies of the present of the processes of destruction and violence that created them. The book shows that this experience is at odds with, and often challenges, the fetishized views of ruins embraced by the regional and scholarly elites. The experience of the peop le who live amid these constellations of rubble reveals that the modernist, elite infatuation with ruins is based upon the disregard for the rubble generated by capitalist and imperial forms of destruction. Drawing from anthropology, history, geography, philosophy and the ethnographic analysis of constellations of debris from multiple eras, this book brings to light the salience of rubble not only as a set of objects but also as a spatial and conceptual category.

Other topics I have published about include: indigeneity, the spatiality of social memory, hegemony and political mobilizations, ethnicity, borders and transnationality, commodity fetishism, ID-paper fetishism, shamanism, and in general the production of subjectivities through experiences of alienation, domination, and contestation. I have analyzed these themes drawing on my ethnographic experience among Qomle’ec (Toba) people of the Gran Chaco on the Pilcomayo River between 1987 and 2003, and among Guarani activists in the sugar-producing region of the provinces of Salta and Jujuy between 2004 and 2011.

To get a general sense of my past and present research interests, see this interview by Stuart Elden in the journal Society and Space.


Publications

Books  

Edited Volumes

Selected Articles

 


Additional Description

 

Phone: 604-822-3797

Email: gordillo@mail.ubc.ca


Gastón Gordillo

Professor
phone 604 822 3797
location_on AnSo 2317

Professor Gastón Gordillo was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He graduated from the University of Buenos Aires (1990) and completed his PhD at the University of Toronto (1999). He is a Guggenheim Scholar, was a visiting scholar at Harvard and Yale and a visiting professor at Cornell. He was also a resident fellow at the Bellagio Study Center, in Bellagio, Italy. His research has been funded (among others) by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and four grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). His book Landscapes of Devils: Tensions of Place and Memory in the Argentinean Chaco (2004, Duke University Press) won the American Ethnological Society Sharon Stephens Book Prize. His most recent book is Rubble: The Afterlife of Destruction (2014, Duke University Press), which won Honorary Mention for the Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing.

 

Research interests: terrain, place, and territory; materiality, new materialisms, posthumanism; affect theory; ruins and ruination; critical theory; racialized spaces; protests and insurrections; the climate and ecological emergency; climate and agro-ecological activism; agribusiness, deforestation, infrastructures and soy supply chains in South America; Argentina; campesinos and Indigenous people of the Gran Chaco.

In my current ethnographic project funded by SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada), I’m analyzing how campesino and Indigenous residentes in the Gran Chaco of northern Argentina experience the effects of deforestation, soy farming, and the infrastructures of the soy supply chains. In particular, I'm examining how varios forms of grassroots activism are struggling to defend local forests from destruction and to generate agro-ecological territories in opposition to industrial agriculture.

My most recent book is entitled Rubble: The Afterlife of Destruction (Duke University Press, 2014; Honorary Mention, Victor Turner Prize for Ethnographic Writing). Based on extensive fieldwork in the region where the Gran Chaco lowlands meet the Andes, this book examines space through the rubble that is part of its materiality. Rubble proposes a theory of ruins as rubble that is based on the ethnographic examination of the material, historical, and affective ruptures congealed in lost cities from the seventeenth century, derelict train stations, overgrown Jesuit missions and Spanish forts, stranded steamships, mass graves, abandoned towns, and forests razed by agribusiness, as they are entangled with each other and with the towns, cattle ranches, farms, and annual collective events that exist around them. For the rural poor, these palimpsests of debris evoke —rather than dead relics from a distant past— the haunting traces in the geographies of the present of the processes of destruction and violence that created them. The book shows that this experience is at odds with, and often challenges, the fetishized views of ruins embraced by the regional and scholarly elites. The experience of the peop le who live amid these constellations of rubble reveals that the modernist, elite infatuation with ruins is based upon the disregard for the rubble generated by capitalist and imperial forms of destruction. Drawing from anthropology, history, geography, philosophy and the ethnographic analysis of constellations of debris from multiple eras, this book brings to light the salience of rubble not only as a set of objects but also as a spatial and conceptual category.

Other topics I have published about include: indigeneity, the spatiality of social memory, hegemony and political mobilizations, ethnicity, borders and transnationality, commodity fetishism, ID-paper fetishism, shamanism, and in general the production of subjectivities through experiences of alienation, domination, and contestation. I have analyzed these themes drawing on my ethnographic experience among Qomle'ec (Toba) people of the Gran Chaco on the Pilcomayo River between 1987 and 2003, and among Guarani activists in the sugar-producing region of the provinces of Salta and Jujuy between 2004 and 2011.

To get a general sense of my past and present research interests, see this interview by Stuart Elden in the journal Society and Space.

Books  

Edited Volumes

Selected Articles

 

 

Phone: 604-822-3797

Email: gordillo@mail.ubc.ca

Gastón Gordillo

Professor
phone 604 822 3797
location_on AnSo 2317

Professor Gastón Gordillo was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He graduated from the University of Buenos Aires (1990) and completed his PhD at the University of Toronto (1999). He is a Guggenheim Scholar, was a visiting scholar at Harvard and Yale and a visiting professor at Cornell. He was also a resident fellow at the Bellagio Study Center, in Bellagio, Italy. His research has been funded (among others) by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and four grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). His book Landscapes of Devils: Tensions of Place and Memory in the Argentinean Chaco (2004, Duke University Press) won the American Ethnological Society Sharon Stephens Book Prize. His most recent book is Rubble: The Afterlife of Destruction (2014, Duke University Press), which won Honorary Mention for the Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing.

 

Research interests: terrain, place, and territory; materiality, new materialisms, posthumanism; affect theory; ruins and ruination; critical theory; racialized spaces; protests and insurrections; the climate and ecological emergency; climate and agro-ecological activism; agribusiness, deforestation, infrastructures and soy supply chains in South America; Argentina; campesinos and Indigenous people of the Gran Chaco.

In my current ethnographic project funded by SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada), I’m analyzing how campesino and Indigenous residentes in the Gran Chaco of northern Argentina experience the effects of deforestation, soy farming, and the infrastructures of the soy supply chains. In particular, I'm examining how varios forms of grassroots activism are struggling to defend local forests from destruction and to generate agro-ecological territories in opposition to industrial agriculture.

My most recent book is entitled Rubble: The Afterlife of Destruction (Duke University Press, 2014; Honorary Mention, Victor Turner Prize for Ethnographic Writing). Based on extensive fieldwork in the region where the Gran Chaco lowlands meet the Andes, this book examines space through the rubble that is part of its materiality. Rubble proposes a theory of ruins as rubble that is based on the ethnographic examination of the material, historical, and affective ruptures congealed in lost cities from the seventeenth century, derelict train stations, overgrown Jesuit missions and Spanish forts, stranded steamships, mass graves, abandoned towns, and forests razed by agribusiness, as they are entangled with each other and with the towns, cattle ranches, farms, and annual collective events that exist around them. For the rural poor, these palimpsests of debris evoke —rather than dead relics from a distant past— the haunting traces in the geographies of the present of the processes of destruction and violence that created them. The book shows that this experience is at odds with, and often challenges, the fetishized views of ruins embraced by the regional and scholarly elites. The experience of the peop le who live amid these constellations of rubble reveals that the modernist, elite infatuation with ruins is based upon the disregard for the rubble generated by capitalist and imperial forms of destruction. Drawing from anthropology, history, geography, philosophy and the ethnographic analysis of constellations of debris from multiple eras, this book brings to light the salience of rubble not only as a set of objects but also as a spatial and conceptual category.

Other topics I have published about include: indigeneity, the spatiality of social memory, hegemony and political mobilizations, ethnicity, borders and transnationality, commodity fetishism, ID-paper fetishism, shamanism, and in general the production of subjectivities through experiences of alienation, domination, and contestation. I have analyzed these themes drawing on my ethnographic experience among Qomle'ec (Toba) people of the Gran Chaco on the Pilcomayo River between 1987 and 2003, and among Guarani activists in the sugar-producing region of the provinces of Salta and Jujuy between 2004 and 2011.

To get a general sense of my past and present research interests, see this interview by Stuart Elden in the journal Society and Space.

Books  

Edited Volumes

Selected Articles

 

 

Phone: 604-822-3797

Email: gordillo@mail.ubc.ca