Workshop: Indigenous Urbanisation in Latin America

By December 10, 2018 No Comments

Indigenous Urbanisation in Latin America
21 March 2019
Department of Urban Studies and Planning, University of Sheffield



Latin America is characterised by profound ethno-racial divisions which are also manifested in space. Since the colonial conquest, the Latin American city was associated with a specific group of inhabitants – ‘whites’ or people of ‘mixed blood’ – who were granted citizenship rights. In contrast, the countryside was conceived of as the space of the ‘Other’, home to the ‘non-white’ indigenous, ethno-racially mixed or black population. These groups were denied actual citizenship and excluded from the imagery of the ‘modern’ and ‘developed’ city.  Such strict ethno-racial rural-urban divides could never be fully sustained. However, they have been further blurred since the second half of the 20th century, as previously isolated rural indigenous communities and territories have been affected by urbanisation, and indigenous peoples have increasingly participated in rural-urban migratory flows. As a result, by the turn of the millennium, 35 percent of the region’s indigenous population were living in cities – this number is likely to rise to 50 percent by 2030 (UN-Habitat 2010). While a growing indigenous majority lives in urban concrete jungles, mainstream research and practice on indigeneity and indigenous development continues to focus on rural places, often offering an essentialist perspective of indigenous peoples as ‘guardians of the forest’. The combination of being simultaneously ‘urban’ and ‘indigenous’ thus remains a conundrum and largely unaddressed by scholarship.

The workshop will focus on the topic of indigenous urbanisation in Latin America, with emphasis on Bolivia and Brazil, as well as key political, social, economic, spatial, and cultural shifts related with these trends. It will bring together an interdisciplinary group of researchers in different career stages who will explore, among others, urban reconfigurations of indigenous identities, communities and organisation patterns; the urbanisation of rural communities; the intersectional inequalities faced by indigenous peoples in the city; and the impacts of social and spatial mobility over understandings of urban indigeneity.

The workshop will take place at the University of Sheffield on Thursday, 21 March 2019. Speakers will give a 15-minute presentation/provocation before opening for questions and general debate, as detailed in the programme below. For those interested in joining the discussion, we have space for approx. 20 more people to attend the event.

Places will be allocated according to a first come first served basis. In case you want to attend the workshop, please register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/workshop-indigenous-urbanisation-in-latin-america-registration-53019850801