Keynote lecture

12.06.2018 | IEiAK UJ, Gołębia 9

Dr. Giovanni Batz (Miami University, USA)
“The Fourth Invasion: Development, Ixil-Maya Resistance, and the Struggle against Megaprojects in Guatemala”

With an increasing global demand for natural resources and the predominance of neoliberalism in Latin America, there has been a growing presence of foreign companies that have engaged in energy production and extractivist industries. State officials, the private sector and other supporters of these projects have argued that these initiatives foster development, create employment and enhance social living conditions, especially in impoverished communities, as well as contribute to creating clean, alternative and renewable sources of energy (in the case of dams). Yet, many indigenous communities, human rights organizations, and opponents claim that these industries do not produce development, and instead are responsible for causing communal divisions, environmental degradation, human rights violations, and militarization. In Cotzal, the arrival of these megaprojects in Guatemala has been referred to as the “new” or “fourth” invasion, with three previous invasions consisted of Spanish Colonization, the creation of plantations at the end of the 19th century, and the Guatemalan Civil War (1960-1996). This presentation will provide a historical account of these “Four Invasions” with an emphasis on a conflict surrounding the construction of a hydroelectric dam in Cotzal.

Dr. Giovanni Batz is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology, and Global and Intercultural Studies (Latin American, Latino/a, and Caribbean Studies) at Miami University. He received his Ph.D. in Social Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin. His dissertation, “The Fourth Invasion: Development, Ixil-Maya Resistance, and the Struggle against Megaprojects in Guatemala,” is based on a resistance movement among the Ixil-Maya in Cotzal, Guatemala against the construction of a hydroelectric dam. He has also worked with Guatemalan-Maya youth in Los Angeles, as well as conducted research on deportations and migration of K’iche’ Maya from Almolonga, Quetzaltenango. Dr. Batz served as a tutor and facilitator at the Ixil University between 2013 and 2015. In 2016, he received a grant by the Guatemalan Human Rights Commission in order to raise awareness on the human rights situation in Guatemala. Batz was awarded the Anne Ray Resident Scholar Fellowship at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico where he will work on writing a manuscript this upcoming year.

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