Imagine Otherwise: Macarena Gómez-Barris on Fighting Extractive Capitalism

Nov 8, 2018Podcast

In this week’s episode of Imagine otherwise, I talk with scholar Macarena Gómez-Barris about how social movements and art practices throughout the Américas offer models for organizing beyond the state, the politics of translating academic scholarship in a transnational world, the creative East–South solidarities artists and thinkers are creating together to fight extractive capitalism, and why doing, making, and thinking in community is key to how Macarena imagines otherwise.

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You can also read the transcript and show notes on the Ideas on Fire website, which have links to Macarena’s work and all the concepts, people, and events we discuss on the show (great for teaching!).

Guest: Macarena Gómez-Barris

Macarena Gómez-Barris is chairperson of the Department of Social Science and Cultural Studies and director of the Global South Center at Pratt Institute.

She writes and teaches on social and cultural theory, decolonial thought, racial and extractive capitalism, social movements, queer and submerged perspectives, critical Indigenous studies, experimental film, and social / environmental transformation.

Macarena is the author of three books, including The Extractive Zone: Social Ecologies and Decolonial Perspectives (Duke University Press, 2017), which theorizes social life, art, and decolonial praxis through five extractive scenes of ruinous capitalism upon Indigenous territories.

Macarena’s most recent book Beyond the Pink Tide: Art and Political Undercurrents in the Americas (University of California Press, 2018) asks us to imagine politics beyond the nation state. She is also the author of the book Where Memory Dwells: Culture and State Violence in Chile (2009), and co-editor with Herman Gray of the book Towards a Sociology of a Trace (2010). Macarena is working on a new book project called At the Sea’s Edge.

Macarena is the recipient of the Fullbright Research Award (2014–2015) and formerly, she was the director of Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics at New York University and a visiting fellow in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis.

Key quote

“This terminology of undercurrents, of bringing underwaters from within the matrix, of what the potentiality is for marginalized communities, for submerged perspectives has been very, very important. And art is central to that in the Américas. It is central to that in communities of color. It’s central to that from the position of the marginal precisely because it’s a form of expression that is worldmaking….It is about critique, dismantling, decolonizing, but it’s also about building alternatives and putting a lot of energy, intention, love, compassion, focus, intellectual juice, and activism into those alternatives as well.”

– Macarena Gómez-Barris on episode 75 of the Imagine Otherwise podcast


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