From germ theory to plantation logic, this book tracks 529 years of global, colonial powers in the violent search for the elusive Cinchona plant of South America. Smuggled and stolen by the Jesuits and the Spanish Monarchy…
Binding: Soft Bound
Publication Date: Fall 2021
Size: 5.5” x 6.5” Landscape
World Rights: Available
— OR —
“State-sanctioned policies of resource extraction and environmental destruction are interwoven with contemporary narratives of sovereignty and self-determination.”
6.7" x 8.07" Portrait
From germ theory to plantation logic, this book tracks 529 years of global, colonial powers in the violent search for the elusive Cinchona plant of South America. Smuggled and stolen by the Jesuits and the Spanish Monarchy in the 17th century, transplanted by Britain and Holland in India and Indonesia during the 18th century, mapped by German explorer Alexander von Humboldt in the 19th century, weaponized by the U.S. in the 20th century, and monopolized by global pharma in the 21st century, the story of the Cinchona plant—the tree called ‘fever’—literally lies at the base of modern civilization. The quest to find the cure for malaria and to control the production of quinine as seen in the corporate monopoly in Africa today also traces deep roots of territorial dispossession and labor exploitation that lie between the Amazon and the Andes. Behind the mask of heritage preservation and resource conservation, five centuries of graphic evidence put into sharp relief the uneven scales of racialized, gendered violence that are rooted in territorial injustices and underpinned by state nationalism. Bringing the map and the territory closer together, state-sanctioned policies of resource extraction and environmental destruction are interwoven with contemporary narratives of sovereignty and self-determination. Like a geopolitical treatise, the archival activism of this book rebuilds relations with the Cinchona plant, by reclaiming territorial histories of its peoples and its ancestral lands to confront the oppressive structures of the settler-state. Overlooked, suppressed, and marginalized, the long history of resistance movements and rebellions led by Indigenous and Afro-Latina women not only reveal the settler-colonial force of the nation-state. Their contemporary resurgence in the 21st century proposes a counter-map: a way challenge to the plague of violence and weaponization of resources of the past five centuries and its transformation into a regenerative flora of the future.
Pablo Escudero is a farmer, architect, and urbanist from the Andean region of Pichincha in northern Ecuador and US Fulbright Scholar living on traditional territories of Kechwa People. He is founding director and research coordinator of LA MINGA Collective based in Quito focusing on territories of conflict at the intersection of the Amazon and the Andes.
Ghazal Jafari is a designer of Persian and Azeri descent and territorial scholar in exile. Originally from Tehran, her practice focuses on spatial and environmental justice, immigrant narratives, women resistance movements, and non-Western spatial discourses. She is founding director of Miyan Rudan (‘Between Rivers’), a long-term territorial initiative based along the Karun River watershed, borderlands of Iran and Iraq.
Pierre Bélanger is a settler designer and landscape architect, originally from Montréal and Ottawa, currently in Boston, traditional lands of the Massachusett Peoples, territory of the Wampanoag and Nipmuc Nations. He currently coordinates The 1492 Project, an initiative dedicated to the removal of Columbus monuments across the Americas and the dismantling of structures of white supremacy.
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