Field Initiative 2. Mexico

Working in and through Climate Change: Agricultural Landscapes in Coamiles, Nayarit, Mexico.

Project Coordinator: Tannya Islas, UIC, MA Student in Latin American and Latino Studies.

Supervisor: Molly Doane, UIC, Associate Professor of Anthropology.

This field initiative investigates the ways in which climate change is experienced on a spatio-temporal level in the small farmer community of Coamiles, Nayarit Mexico. Coamiles is in the central part of Nayarit in Western Mexico, and is home to many ejidatarios who harvest frijol, tobacco, guava, and chilies. The objective of this research project is to understand how climate change is perceived by local farmers as having an affect on their land. To address this question, one will have to delineate between scientific climatic discourses and the ways in which farmers remember and articulate how local climate has changed throughout their lives.  The project also attends to the spatialization of climate change by analyzing how various conceptualizations of “landscape” come into being. In other words, how does a distinction between being connected to a landscape versus owning land shape how farmers relate to their environment? Land is space that is commodiafiable, parceled, and regulated by the state and agricultural practices. Landscape, on the other hand, is part of the global imagination of “natural” environments.  More broadly, these debates will shed light onto how climate change is imagined both globally and locally.

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