On 3 November Georg Fischer from the GS Brazilian Studies programme was joined by artist Silvia Noronha, anthropologist/writer Camila de Caux and sociologist Tereza Ventura at the conference “Transformative Connections: Building Diverse Relations for a Just Green Transition” at Aalborg University, Campus Copenhagen. They presented a panel titled “Memory, grief, and transformation in Brazil’s Iron Quadrangle: How to imagine post-extractivist worlds in a zone of sacrifice?”. It was the final event of the DFF Network for Global Justice and the Environmental Humanities, a collaboration between AU’s Centre for Environmental Humanities, Roskilde University and Aalborg University.
Brazil’s Iron Quadrangle, a region encompassing a mountainous area in the state of Minas Gerais, has been a global supplier of iron ore for 80 years. It is the birthplace of one of the world’s largest mining corporations, Vale. Many of its “iron peaks” have been transformed into open-pit mines. Dotted with historic towns and villages dating back to the 18th-century gold economy, the Iron Quadrangle symbolizes Brazil’s integration into global cycles of extractivism and acceleration. The region gained notoriety with the tailings dam disasters of Mariana (2015) and Brumadinho (2018). Those events unveiled layers of invisibilized toxicity, injustice and externalized risks.
The panel opened a space for multidisciplinary reflection on grief, care, healing and transformation by bringing together historical research, ethnographic fieldwork, as well as literary and artistic engagements. How do we make meaning in post-collapse worlds? How are claims to justice connected with claims to memory? And how is life connected to territory and a territory that affords care even after the apocalypse?
You can read more on Conference page or check out the EHJustice webpage.