This book captures an epochal juncture of two of the world's most transformative processes: the People's Republic of China's rapidly expanding sphere of influence across the global south and the disintegration of the Amazonian, Cerrado, and Andean biomes. The intersection of these two processes took another step in April 2020, when Chinese President Xi Jinping launched a "New Health Silk Road" agenda of aid and investment that would wind through South America, extending the Eurasian-African "Belt and Road Initiative" to a series of mine, port, energy, infrastructure, and agrobusiness megaprojects in the Latin American tropics.
Through thirty short essays, The Tropical Silk Road brings together an impressive array of contributors, from economists, anthropologists, and political scientists to Black, feminist, and Indigenous community organizers, Chinese stakeholders, environmental activists, and local journalists to offer a pathbreaking analysis of China's presence in South America. As cracks in the progressive legacy of the Pink Tide and the failures of ecocidal right-wing populisms shape new political economies and geopolitical possibilities, this book provides a grassroots-based account of a post-US centered world order, and an accompanying map of the stakes for South America that highlights emerging voices and forms of resistance.
Paul Amar is a Professor of Global Studies and Director of the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Lisa Rofel is Professor Emerita of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Maria Amelia Viteri is a Professor of Anthropology at Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ). Consuelo Fernández-Salvador is Associate Professor of Anthropology, Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ). Fernando Brancoli is an Adjunct Professor of International Security and Geopolitics at the Institute of International Relations and Defense at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (IRID-UFRJ).
"A result of deep and probing research, The Tropical Silk Road offers new critical writings, field observations, and ideas that situate the fate of Amazonian societies in the wake of China's bid for global prominence. The diverse array of experts in fine-tuned conversation with one another makes this a truly remarkable and exciting collection."
– Long Bui, University of California, Irvine
"The Tropical Silk Road is both an impressively ambitious and readable volume. An international cavalcade of authors examines contemporary China's outreach into Latin America, offering an engaging balance of thoughtful, interdisciplinary perspectives with considerable heft."
– Carlos Rojas, Duke University