• The Portuguese Program at FSU


International leaders will gather in Oxford to debate violence in the Amazon

Academics, politicians, indigenous and social leaders seeking solutions for the contemporary Amazon will unite in a colloquium to be hosted at Oxford University

Between January 31st and February 2nd, Oxford University will host the “International Colloquium “Amazon: Rising Violence and Disturbing Trends”, jointly organized by the University of Oxford, Cardiff University and Florida State University , in which representatives will gather to debate the latest threats to the Amazon rain forest region.

It is time to approach the environmental issues in political and academic works in order to interrogate and surpass the region’s imposed cycles, which will result in economic, cultural and social collapse.

Among the key speakers, the Colloquium brings Raoni Metuktire, Brazilian indigenous leader and environmental activist; Marina Silva, Brazilian ex-senator and Minister of the Environment; Davi Kopenawa Yanomani, shaman and speaker for the Yanomani People; Joênia Wapichana, Brazilian indigenous leader and congresswoman for the Sustainability Network Party; Alfredo Wagner, professor at Universidade Federal do Amazonas and coordinator of the New Social Cartography project; and filmmaker Jorge Bodansky, who will premiere “Minamata Amazonia”, his latest work, in the event.

With round tables and cultural programming, the event is part of a wider effort to decolonize scientific practices through a North-South dialogue that recognizes the importance of an ethics based on environmental reciprocity.

The event’s main goal is to promote reflection between three groups of interlocutors: the inhabitants of the Amazonian region that represent its indigenous people, small farming families, river dwellers and other urban and country populations; academics from various universities in Europe, North and South Americas, who lead critical studies about the legacies of colonization and sociopolitical asymmetry; and legislators, diplomats and politicians responsible for the formulation and implementation of public policies and governmental decisions.


Film series in Oxford promote critical debate on Amazon
Oxford’s Amazonia Film Exhibit expands connection between present and past with screening of the film “Beyond Fordlândia”

The environmental agenda was dominant in 2019. From month to month, in Brazil, we monitor the weakening of the environmental inspection and protection bodies, the cut of funds for conservation projects, the Amazon Fund being compromised by the president's controversies, and the invasion of Indigenous Lands by squatters, prospectors, land grabbers and farmers encouraged by the Executive's speech - which was proved by the “day of fire”.

Despite the serious news, this is an old story. Old because we have been collecting the results of Henry Ford's experiments in the Amazon for more than ninety years, the first to try to control the forest under the rationale of capitalist production.

This is the reflection proposed in the documentary Beyond Fordlândia (2018, 75 min), which will be shown at the International Colloquium “Amazon: Rising Violence and Disturbing Trends ”, at the University of Oxford. Beyond Fordlândia is written, directed and produced by Dr. Marcos Colón a faculty at Florida State University. The exhibition, “Oxford’s Amazonia Film Exhibit”, will take place on January 31, at The Ultimate Picture Palace cinema, in Oxford.

In 1928, the cargo ships of Henry Ford's company that reached the Tapajós River had a mission - to destroy a million hectares of forest in the Amazon to set up a series of rubber trees and a city to operate it. In search of self-sufficiency in latex for his cars, Ford tried to conquer the forest, the largest in the world. But the effects of his actions haunt the region, in Aveiro district, Pará, to the present day.








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