Susanna Hecht

2014 Carl O. Sauer Distinguished Scholarship Award

It is an honor to have nominated, and now present, the 2013 Carl O. Sauer Distinguished Scholarship Award to geographer Susanna Hecht, Professor of International Development in the Luskin School of Public Affairs, UCLA. She also holds joints appointments in UCLA’s Geography Department and the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. The Sauer Award is given “in recognition of a corpus of important published work or other significant contribution towards Latin American geography,” and that “the recipients will be scholars who are leading authorities in specific research topics and geographic areas of Latin America.” Or, “recipients could also be scholars whose research has made significant advancements towards fostering understanding of Latin America to a broader audience.” I think it safe to say that Dr. Hecht’s record amply fulfills all of these criteria.

The primary criterion for this award is a body of publications. So let’s start there. I will not take the time to review her publications in detail here, however, several deserve more than mere mention. Her best-known and widely read book is Fate of the Forest: Destroyers, Developers and Defenders of the Amazon. The Fate was co-authored with the late Alexander Cockburn, perhaps the New Left’s most notable journalist and political critic over the past half century. Since its publication in 1989, Fate of the Forest has gone through several editions and updates, and there are translations in Spanish and Portuguese. I was invited to review it for the Annals of the AAG. It was obvious then, that beyond its exemplary qualities of putting the Amazon’s environmental history and geography in critical and expert perspective, it was written with a broad public as well as student audiences in mind, and would probably become a “classic.” It has. And for me, it has proven to be a text with few if any equals as a primer on the past, present, and future of a Latin America region. I have used it regularly since 1990 in my Latin America course. Hecht’s most recent book is The Scramble for the Amazon and the Lost Paradise of Euclides da Cunha, published in May 2013 by the University of Chicago Press. It has already received a lengthy review in the Nation magazine, and, given the laudatory appraisals by reviewers in trade publications, it should be very well received in both scholarly quarters and among a general readership. She also has another dozen authored or edited book-length works, either published, in press, or in preparation. Among these we have two more books promising high profiles to look forward to: The End of Nature: Globalization, Global Change and Amazon Forests in the Science Politics of the 21st Century (Knopf) and Tropicality: The History and Politics of an Idea (University of Chicago Press). On top of these, there is a co-edited book, The Social Lives of Forests: Past, Present, and Future of Woodland Resources coming out in March, also with Chicago.

I could stop here. Professor Hecht’s books alone make her a worthy recipient of this award several times over. However, to know her only by her books is to miss much of what else Susanna Hecht has contributed to the study of Latin America, not the least of which, is its geography. Her major research areas include: agroecology, climate change, environmental history, ethnicity and development politics, food systems, forest transition, gender and development, indigenous knowledge systems, and political ecology. Her regional theatres of research have been primarily in Brazil, Bolivia, and Central America, but she maintains an active interest and research focus on Latin America, and indeed the global tropics, as a whole. Among the dozens of specific topics for which she has conducted research and published results, I would mention the following to give you an idea of the range these encompass. Her work on forests includes: studies of non-timber forest products, women’s roles in agro-forestry, the newly recognized phenomenon of forest recovery as it relates to global economics and politics, and the implications of terra preta or “black earth” husbandry for both tropical forestry and agriculture. Her interest in tropical agriculture has spans the spectrum from traditional slash-and-burn systems to the South American soy juggernaut that is furrowing a vast expanse from northern Argentina to northeastern Brazil. Within this complex of agricultural practices, agroforestry has been of special interest, particularly women’s roles in landscape management. Increasingly, tropical reforestation and forest transition is largely carried out and managed by women. Forest resurgence in the tropics is now a widely documented phenomenon. Here Hecht, as with her early recognition of the existence and importance of terra preta, has been in the forefront of a number of research initiatives. More recently, she has focused on resilience questions and problems from the long-range optic of historical ecology and the here-and-now concerns of environmental economics. As in many of her other research pursuits and passions, she transmutes empirical findings – hers and others -- into creative and synthesized understandings of large and complex topics. Not surprisingly, her talents have been well regarded and registered outside of academia’s narrower precincts, particularly in the arena of quality journalism.

The third leg of her accomplishments and qualifications for this honor are the easiest to recount – not because of brevity – far from it, but because I could simply say that she has garnered most of the awards and fellowships for research and scholarship available to geographers. There is a steady stream of prestigious support from the 1980s to present. The list includes such institutions and entities as Guggenheim, MacArthur, and Ford Foundations, Institute of Advanced Studies (Princeton), Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences (Stanford), American Council of Learned Societies, Wenner-Gren, Fulbright, NASA, NSF, and NGS. And these are just the most well-recognized. Clearly Dr. Susanna Bettina Hecht has been widely and I would add deservedly well-recognized by multiple agencies. And now, the Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers would like to join these organizations in recognizing one of our own premier scholars with the Carl O. Sauer Distinguished Scholarship Award. As I think all here would agree, Carl Sauer was one of the preeminent geographers of the last century, and that he directed much of his research toward Latin America from a cultural and historical geographic perspectives was integral. Not unreasonably, his 1975 New York Times obituary headline acclaimed him “Dean of Geographers.” CLAG’s Carl O. Sauer Award has often been bestowed on geographers following in the Sauerian tradition. In the case of this year’s awardee, we have a scholar who has extended that tradition in multiple and creative ways.

-- Kent Mathewson

JLAG's Ten Most Popular Articles by Requests Since 2010

9851 Christopher Gaffney (2010).
Mega-events and socio-spatial dynamics in Rio de Janeiro, 1919-2016
Journal of Latin American Geography 9(1). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/377416

3277 Jeremy Slack; Daniel E. Martínez; Alison Elizabeth Lee; Scott Whiteford (2016).
The Geography of Border Militarization: Violence, Death and Health in Mexico and the United States
Journal of Latin American Geography 15(1). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/613266

2722 James Freeman (2014).
Raising the Flag over Rio de Janeiro's Favelas: Citizenship and Social Control in the Olympic City
Journal of Latin American Geography 13(1). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/539604

2379 Cynthia Sorrensen (2005).
Maria Full of Grace (Maria, llena eres de gracia) (review)
Journal of Latin American Geography 4(2). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/189742

2373 Jeffrey Todd Bury (2002).
Livelihoods, Mining and Peasant Protests in the Peruvian Andes
Journal of Latin American Geography 1(1). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/215262

2280 Kate Swanson; Rebecca Maria Torres (2016).
Child Migration and Transnationalized Violence in Central and North America
Journal of Latin American Geography 15(3). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/639098

2241 Conor Harrison; Jeff Popke (2018).
Reassembling Caribbean Energy? Petrocaribe, (Post-)Plantation Sovereignty, and Caribbean Energy Futures
Journal of Latin American Geography 17(3). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/708949

2215 Dr. Rikke Schmidt Kjærgaard (2015).
The Case of the Green Turtle: An Uncensored History of a Conservation Icon by Alison Rieser (review)
Journal of Latin American Geography 14(1). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/578762

2161 Alexandra Pedersen (2014).
Landscapes of Resistance: Community Opposition to Canadian Mining Operations in Guatemala
Journal of Latin American Geography 13(1). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/539611

2117 Beth Tellman; Leslie C. Gray; Christopher M. Bacon (2011).
Not Fair Enough: Historic and Institutional Barriers to Fair Trade Coffee in El Salvador
Journal of Latin American Geography 10(2). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/449190

JLAG's Ten Most Popular Articles by Requests in 04/2022

86 John C. Finn; Martha Bell; Jörn Seemann; Gabriela Valdivia; Eric Carter (2020).
Introducing JLAG em Tradução/JLAG en Traducción
Journal of Latin American Geography 19(1). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/744026

85 Christopher Gaffney (2010).
Mega-events and socio-spatial dynamics in Rio de Janeiro, 1919-2016
Journal of Latin American Geography 9(1). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/377416

81 Jeffrey Todd Bury (2002).
Livelihoods, Mining and Peasant Protests in the Peruvian Andes
Journal of Latin American Geography 1(1). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/215262

74 Hanna Laako Edith Kauffer (2021|2021).
Conservation in the Frontier: Negotiating Ownerships of Nature at the Southern Mexican Border
Journal of Latin American Geography 20(3). https://muse.jhu.edu/article/835649|https://muse.jhu.edu/article/839946

72 Danilo Borja; Juan Bay; Conny Davidsen; Traducido por Yulia Garcia Sarduy (2021).
Ancianos amazónicos en la frontera petrolera: La vida y muerte de Nenkihui Bay, líder tradicional Waorani
Journal of Latin American Geography 20(1). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/787933

70 Joana Salém Vasconcelos (2021).
Cuba, protestos e caminhos da revolução
Journal of Latin American Geography 20(3). https://muse.jhu.edu/article/839951

67 Verónica Gago; Liz Mason-Deese (2019).
Rethinking Situated Knowledge from the Perspective of Argentina's Feminist Strike
Journal of Latin American Geography 18(3). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/736944

60 Kate Swanson (2019).
Silent Killing: The Inhumanity of U.S. Immigration Detention
Journal of Latin American Geography 18(3). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/736947

57 Doribel Herrador Valencia; Enric Mendizábal Riera; Martí Boada i Juncà (2012).
Participatory Action Research Applied to the Management of Natural Areas: The Case Study of Cinquera in El Salvador
Journal of Latin American Geography 11(1). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/470629

56 Geobrujas-Comunidad de Geógrafas (2021).
Cuerpos, fronteras y resistencia: mujeres conjurando geografí­a a través de experiencias desde el otro lado del muro
Journal of Latin American Geography 20(2). https://muse.jhu.edu/article/799599

JLAG's Ten Most Popular Articles by Requests in 2022

303 John C. Finn; Martha Bell; Jörn Seemann; Gabriela Valdivia; Eric Carter (2020).
Introducing JLAG em Tradução/JLAG en Traducción
Journal of Latin American Geography 19(1). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/744026

273 Hanna Laako Edith Kauffer (2021|2021).
Conservation in the Frontier: Negotiating Ownerships of Nature at the Southern Mexican Border
Journal of Latin American Geography 20(3). https://muse.jhu.edu/article/835649|https://muse.jhu.edu/article/839946

263 Joana Salém Vasconcelos (2021).
Cuba, protestos e caminhos da revolução
Journal of Latin American Geography 20(3). https://muse.jhu.edu/article/839951

255 Jeffrey Todd Bury (2002).
Livelihoods, Mining and Peasant Protests in the Peruvian Andes
Journal of Latin American Geography 1(1). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/215262

250 Verónica Gago; Liz Mason-Deese (2019).
Rethinking Situated Knowledge from the Perspective of Argentina's Feminist Strike
Journal of Latin American Geography 18(3). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/736944

241 John C. Finn; Cynthia K. Pope; Yulia Garcia Sarduy (2020).
Covid-19 in Latin America
Journal of Latin American Geography 19(3). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/760936

215 Geobrujas-Comunidad de Geógrafas (2021).
Cuerpos, fronteras y resistencia: mujeres conjurando geografí­a a través de experiencias desde el otro lado del muro
Journal of Latin American Geography 20(2). https://muse.jhu.edu/article/799599

188 Jerónimo Ríos Sierra (2020).
Una Aproximación (Geo)Politológica A La Crisis De La Covid-19 En América Latina
Journal of Latin American Geography 19(3). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/760939

178 John C. Finn; Eugenio Arima; Martha Bell; Jessica Budds; Jörn Seemann; Gabriela Valdivia; Diana Tung; Alan Marcus (2021).
Editorial: Expanding Access to the Journal of Latin American Geography
Journal of Latin American Geography 20(3). https://muse.jhu.edu/article/839943

176 John C. Finn; Eugenio Arima; Martha Bell; Jessica Budds; Jörn Seemann; Gabriela Valdivia; Diana Tung; Eric Carter; Alan Marcus (2020).
Editorial: Mobility, Connectivity, and the Implications of Covid-19 for Latin American Geography
Journal of Latin American Geography 19(4). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/772599

Los Diez Artículos Españoles Mas Popular de JLAG por Solicitudes Desde 2010

1784 Diana Vela-Almeida; Sofia Zaragocin; Manuel Bayón; Iñigo Arrazola (2020).
Imaginando territorios plurales de vida: una lectura feminista de las resistencias en los movimientos socio-territoriales en el Ecuador
Journal of Latin American Geography 19(2). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/749633

1640 Danilo Borja; Juan Bay; Conny Davidsen; Traducido por Yulia Garcia Sarduy (2021).
Ancianos amazónicos en la frontera petrolera: La vida y muerte de Nenkihui Bay, líder tradicional Waorani
Journal of Latin American Geography 20(1). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/787933

1534 Maria Elisa Christie (2002).
Naturaleza y sociedad desde la perspectiva de la cocina tradicional mexicana: género, adaptación y resistencia
Journal of Latin American Geography 1(1). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/215263

1533 Geobrujas-Comunidad de Geógrafas (2021).
Cuerpos, fronteras y resistencia: mujeres conjurando geografí­a a través de experiencias desde el otro lado del muro
Journal of Latin American Geography 20(2). https://muse.jhu.edu/article/799599

1094 Christian Abizaid; Luis Ángel Collado Panduro; Sergio Gonzales Egusquiza (2020).
Pobreza Y Medios De Subsistencia En La Amazonía Peruana En Tiempos De La Covid-19
Journal of Latin American Geography 19(3). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/760940

870 Colectivo de Geografía Crítica del Ecuador (2017).
Geografiando para la resistencia
Journal of Latin American Geography 16(1). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/653095

850 Diego B. Leal; David S. Salisbury; Josué Faquín Fernández; Lizardo Cauper Pezo; Julio Silva (2015).
Ideas cambiantes sobre territorio, recursos y redes políticas en la Amazonía indígena: un estudio de caso sobre Perú
Journal of Latin American Geography 14(2). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/586857

701 Jerónimo Ríos Sierra (2020).
Una aproximación (geo)politológica a la crisis de la COVID-19 en América Latina
Journal of Latin American Geography 19(3). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/760939

510 Rosa Silvia Arciniega (2012).
Participación de Mujeres en el Mercado Laboral del Estado de México
Journal of Latin American Geography 11(1). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/470633

473 Doribel Herrador-Valencia; Myriam Paredes (2016).
Cambio climático y agricultura de pequeña escala en los Andes ecuatorianos: un estudio sobre percepciones locales y estrategias de adaptación
Journal of Latin American Geography 15(2). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/627435

Os Artigos Português Mais Populares da JLAG por Solicitações Desde 2010

1565 Rogério Haesbaert (2020).
Território(s) numa perspectiva latino-americana
Journal of Latin American Geography 19(1). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/744032

689 Joseli Maria Silva; Marcio Jose Ornat (2020).
Geografias feministas na América Latina: desafios epistemológicos e a decolonialidade de saberes
Journal of Latin American Geography 19(1). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/744044

536 Joanna Salém Vasconcelos (2021).
JLAG Perspectives: Cuba, protestos e caminhos da revolução
Journal of Latin American Geography 20(3). https://muse.jhu.edu/article/835650

367 Joana Salém Vasconcelos (2021).
Cuba, protestos e caminhos da revolução
Journal of Latin American Geography 20(3). https://muse.jhu.edu/article/839951

257 Christian Dennys Monteiro de Oliveira; Fabrício Américo Ribeiro; Ivo Luis Oliveira Silva; Luiz Raphael Teixeira Silva; José Arilson Xavier de Souza; Gerlaine Cristina Franco; Marcos da Silva Rocha; Maryvone Moura Gomes; Camila Benatti (2020).
As organizações religiosas brasileiras frente à pandemia de COVID-19
Journal of Latin American Geography 19(3). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/760909

204 Vinicius Santos Almeida (2020).
Necromobilidade durante a pandemia da Covid-19
Journal of Latin American Geography 19(3). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/760907

154 Antoinette M.G.A. WinklerPrins (2009).
Cidades da Floresta: Urbanização, Desenvolvimento, e Globalização na Amazônia Brasileira (review)
Journal of Latin American Geography 8(1). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/260547

117 Jean-Yves Puyo (2008).
Mise en valeur de la Guyane française et peuplement blanc: les espoirs déçus du baron de Laussat (1819-1823)
Journal of Latin American Geography 7(1). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/232499

113 Raquel de Carvalho Dumith (2014).
Dinâmicas do sistema de gestão na Reserva Extrativista de Canavieiras, Bahia, Brasil: análise da robustez institucional
Journal of Latin American Geography 13(1). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/539607

107 Alexis Saludjian (2005).
Critiques du Regionalisme Ouvert a partir de l'economie geographique appliquee au Mercosur
Journal of Latin American Geography 4(2). http://muse.jhu.edu/article/189738

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