IAS Fellow at Ustinov College, January – March 2023
Beatriz Bustos Gallardo is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Chile. She holds a PhD in Geography and a Master’s in public administration from Syracuse University, a Master’s in Anthropology and Development and a BA in Public Administration from the University of Chile. Her areas of expertise include rural development, economic geography, and political ecology. Her research focuses on resources geography and the socio-political transformations that exploitation of natural resources produces in rural communities. From political ecology, she studies the tension between local landscapes endowed with natural resources and the territorial transformations that their exploitation entails. More concretely, she has studied the salmon industry in Los Lagos region Chile. She has received several national grants to develop her research (and has been an associated researcher in a number of international projects (from the EU Marie Curie and Horizon 2020, Carleton University and with Humboldt University in Germany). Through several publications she has addressed the commodity cycles with a focus on boom-and-bust moments, by understanding changes in rural economic and livelihood practices. She has also worked on a comparative analysis of commodities, to explore how the materiality of nature affected the way in which territories impacted by commoditization processes, evolved. The comparison of copper mining in Antofagasta and salmon farming in Los Lagos, lead to insights into identity and politics of resource economies, as well as debates about the extractivist mode of production. Theoretically, this research has allowed her to explore ideas of ecological crisis, capitalism as an ecological regime, extractivism and rural modes of living in territories affected by those industries. More recently (2021-2024), she is leading a Fondecyt grant that will explore the effects of resource frontiers in practices and understanding of rural citizenship, as affected by the transformations brought by the extractive economies to the interaction between rural subjects.
She has collaborated with Professor Gavin Bridge (Durham, Geography) in research regarding the role of the materiality of nature in extractive economies, by exploring commodity deepening and widening strategies in commodities and the energy sector, particularly the lithium industry in Chile, and they have proposed interesting connections between critical resource geography and industrial ecology in extractive economies. Their collaboration during the IAS Fellowship will look at the emergence and territorial implications of green hydrogen as the new resource frontier, in terms of the configuration of new global production networks of energy and in terms of the political solutions that regional and national governments implement to expand and secure its production.
Dr Bustos Gallardo has been awarded a Fulbright-OAS scholarship (2004), was a Fellow at the Antipode Summer Institute for Social Justice held in Durban, South Africa (2013), and was Llilas Tinker Visiting Professor at the University of Texas-Austin (2018). She has been invited to present her research at the University of Lyon, France, University of Heidelberg, Germany, University of Colorado-Boulder, United States, and several national universities. She is an active member of the American Association of Geographers (AAG), the Royal Geographical Society (RGS-IBG), the Chilean Geographical Society (SOCHIGEO). She is a member of the organizing committee of the Conferences of Latin American political Ecology (held in Santiago, Chile, 2014, San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, 2016 and Salvador de Bahía, Brazil, 2019, Quito, Ecuador, 2022).