Catherine Corson, Miller Worley Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Mount Holyoke College, will explore the historical and contemporary political corridors that connect a Malagasy village with Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Using the U.S. Agency for International Development’s environmental program in Madagascar as a window into the 40-year transformation of global environmental governance under neoliberalism and its relationship to shifting resource rights and access in the global south and drawing on ethnographic research conducted in multiple sites across the United States, England, and Madagascar, she will show how various actors—representing the U.S. and Madagascar governments, contractors, non-governmental organizations, scientists and villagers—have negotiated U.S. funding for environmental issues in Madagascar since the 1970s. She argues that, in the wake of neoliberal reforms, which opened up opportunities for foreign and domestic private and nonprofit actors to influence public policy, contemporary environmental governance increasingly takes place through dynamic, transnational coalitions of state and non-state actors. The need to maintain these coalitions has both undermined prior efforts to devolve resource management to local communities and isolated “the environment” geographically, at the expense of addressing long-term drivers of degradation in Madagascar.
This talk is part of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the University Program in Environmental Policy seminar series featuring leading experts discussing a variety of pressing environmentally focused topics.