LAS essay prize


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.