This event is part of the Collaboration for a Better World speaker series, sponsored by the Department of Integrative and Global Studies. This event is co-sponsored by the Latin American and Caribbean Studies program and the Global Lab.
Thea Riofrancos is an assistant professor of political science at Providence College, an Andrew Carnegie Fellow (2020-2022), and a Radcliffe Institute Fellow (2020-2021). Her research focuses on resource extraction, renewable energy, climate change, green technology, social movements, and the left in Latin America. These themes are explored in her book, Resource Radicals: From Petro-Nationalism to Post-Extractivism in Ecuador (Duke University Press, 2020) and her co-authored book, A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green New Deal (Verso Books, 2019). Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Boston Review, The Baffler, n+1, Dissent, Jacobin, among others. She is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and serves on the organization's Green New Deal Campaign Committee.
In 2007, the left came to power in Ecuador. In the years that followed, the “twenty-first-century socialist” government and a coalition of grassroots activists came to blows over the extraction of natural resources. Each side declared the other a perversion of leftism and the principles of socioeconomic equality, popular empowerment, and anti-imperialism. Resource Radicals unpacks the conflict between these two leftisms: on the one hand, the administration's resource nationalism and focus on economic development; and on the other, the anti-extractivism of grassroots activists who condemned the government's disregard for nature and indigenous communities. The analysis expands the study of resource politics, demonstrating how Ecuador's commodity-dependent economy and history of indigenous uprisings offer a unique opportunity to understand development, democracy, and the ecological foundations of global capitalism.