Mercury Project codirector Heather Lanthorn introduces the project’s newly updated Research Framework, a public good that supports researchers, funders, and…
In this essay, the authors reflect on their experiences researching the impacts of port expansion in the Indian Ocean on mangroves and the communities surrounding them with the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Social Movements as Bulwarks of Democracy: Indigenous Mobilization and Political Inclusion in Ecuadorby Karla Mundim
In her essay, Karla Mundim examines Indigenous protest movements in Ecuador, focusing on the protests against construction on the Piatua River in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Mundim argues that, despite the enshrining of the prior consultation of Indigenous communities and the "rights of nature" in the country's constitution, Indigenous communities continue to protests and make themselves visible to the state to safeguard their democratic rights.
Violence against Women in Politics in Brazil: An Instrument of Power and Anti-Egalitarian Obstructionby Tássia Rabelo de Pinho
Here, Tássia Rabelo de Pinho examines how violence against women in politics manifest in Brazil to the detriment of advancing women's engagement in politics at the national and local levels.
District Selection and Racial Identity: Voting Preferences in the Colombian Congress’ Black Districtby Cristina Echeverri-Pineda and Mateo Villamizar-Chaparro
Despite the creation of ethnic congressional district meant to increase minority representation, participation in Colombia’s Afro-descendant district has been historically low. Here, Cristina Echeverri-Pineda and Mateo Villamizar-Chaparro examine why Afro-Colombian participation in this district has stagnated and what it could mean for democracy in Colombia.
In their research, Anjuli Fahlberg, Cristiane Martins, Joiceane Lopes, Ana Cláudia Araújo, Lidiane Santos, Sophia Costa, and Guilherme Baratho examine how democracy is being recreated in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, particularly Cidade de Deus, where Covid-19 was first recorded. Drawing on their research on the pandemic’s impact on local residents vis-à-vis emergent forms of autonomous governance and how these are shaped by gender and racial dynamics, they argue that civic associations’ mobilization tactics in Cidade de Deus can help us understand how democracy is being reinvented in these spaces under conditions of extreme governmental neglect.
Following the weakening of the Voting Rights Act in the United States, many Republican-controlled states enacted restrictive voting ID laws aimed at limiting franchise access to communities of color. In their research, Hajar Yazdiha and Blanca Ramirez examine how immigrant-serving organizations in five Southern states recalibrated their resources to help immigrants vote. Focusing on Alabama, they investigate five shifts these immigrant-serving organizations have made to address the impact of voter ID laws, which, the authors argue, shows how these restrictive laws can lead to new forms of organizing and resistance.
Representing Mining Realities: Journalism of the People and Digital Expressions of Democracy on Facebookby Adela Zhang
The conflict between communities in the Peruvian Andes and multinational mining companies has often been told by national media controlled by elites in the capital of Lima. However, the advent of online livestreams has allowed local communities to make their demands and reveal their circumstances to the public at large. Here, Adela Zhang examines how these popular forms of journalism present a different version of the “reality” of extractive capitalism to the one shown by the mainstream press.
As part of their SSRC-funded Covid-19 research, Marlie Holtzhausen and Cori Wielenga examine what a relational approach can tell us about the efficiency of development interventions and how a relational approach can inform whether certain interventions are sustainable during a crisis. Looking at two development organizations in South Africa, they find that “success” for these organizations was not defined by a quantifiable measures like funds raised or people helped but by the dignity of the care and aid provided, which is possible thanks to a foundation of strong relationships.
For our “Where Heritage Meets Violence” essay series, Nick Shepherd considers how the violence of colonialism is deeply inscribed in space and landscape. He traces the history of the University of Cape Town, where a protest against a statue of Cecil Rhodes initiated the #RhodesMustFall movement. Shepherd examines the persistent materializations of power, showing how enduring coloniality shapes embodied ways of seeing and being in the world.