This talk will examine articulations between ecological politics and the politics of markets in Buenos Aires. Through an analysis of quotidian practices of plant cultivation, poetry and songs about neighborhood life, and political mobilizations in public spaces, D'Avella describes how neighborhood groups worked to preserve a particular kind of environment that he calls a "barrio ecology." Central to their political efforts was an attention to how vital life practices are made vulnerable when neighborhoods are treated as a profit-maximizing economic terrain. By connecting their struggle with broadly-held histories of economic disenfranchisement in post-crisis Argentina, barrio residents provided important openings for other forms of value to endure in a landscape threatened by the hegemony of economic investment.
This lecture will be followed by a conversation with Catherine Fennell.
Nicholas D'Avella is a Wenner-Gren Hunt Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Scholar at the Hemispheric Institute. An ethnographer of contemporary Argentine economic life, he is currently completing his first manuscript, Concrete Dreams: Ethnographies of Practice and the Value of Buildings in Post-Crisis Buenos Aires. Based on two years of fieldwork with real estate investors, architects, and neighborhood residents, the book describes how buildings were incorporated into post-crisis practices of economic investment, and how other forms of value were made to endure in the face of buildings' increasingly central place in Argentine economic life.
Catherine Fennell is associate professor of Anthropology at Columbia University. Her work focuses on the decline and transformation of subsidized housing and how the material and social legacies of such housing shape the politics of difference, collective care and obligation, and utopian imagination in the urban Midwest. She is the author of Last Project Standing: Civics and Sympathy in Post-Welfare Chicago (Minnesota 2015), and is presently exploring how inhabitants of "shrinking cities" manage the physical aftermaths of houses that have become waste.
This event is free and open to the public. A photo ID is required to enter NYU buildings. 20 Cooper Square is a wheelchair accessible building.