LAS essay prize

The LAS essay prize is awarded annually for the best essay written in an undergraduate course at UBC. The essay must deal primarily with Latin America; courses with either the LAST course code or any other discipline are eligible. Nominations will only be accepted the course instructor and for any course taught in the preceding 12 months. The deadline for the 2023 award is May 1, 2023. The prize comes with recognition on the LAS website and a $100 award. Nominations are to be sent to to the chair of the LAS program by the deadline.


2023 – The committee for the 2023 Latin American Studies Essay Prize has selected Forrest Berman-Hatch for their essay “Rights of the Individual, Reciprocity with Nature: Tensions between Liberal and Indigenous ontologies in the Latin American Rights of Nature Movement” written in POLI 332 with Dr. Maxwell Cameron in 2022W, 1. The paper offers a sharp reading of the tension that exists between anthropocentrism and biocentrism and how Indigenous ontologies are mapped or forced onto liberal frameworks. Despite an imperfect fit between individual rights and the collective interests of nature, this paper skilfully shows how a decolonial turn has begun to shape old legal paradigms. The essay focuses on Ecuador and Bolivia, two states that have, through the constitution or laws, begun to advance new socio-ecological relations.