The Beavercene: Eradication and Settler-Colonialism in Tierra del Fuego


  • Mara Dicenta Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


In this piece, I examine how local histories of human and animal colonization reconfigure globalist ideas of invasion biology and nature conservation. The history of beavers in Tierra del Fuego illustrates the coproduction of environmental knowledges, landscape transformations, and settler colonialism. Originally introduced to promote the fur industry during the 1940s, beavers are now considered an invasive pest to be eradicated. Their introduction during the Argentinian national occupation was justified as the region was deemed “indigenous” and “savage,” while today’s eradication plans position local knowledges as inferior to global strategies of species management.

Author Biography

Mara Dicenta, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Mara Dicenta is a PhD candidate in ccience and technology studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York. With a background in anthropology, she studies the intersections between nature, modernity, and colonialism in Austral Patagonia and its more-than-human history of science. Her research, which is informed by feminist, decolonial, and subaltern epistemologies, contributes suggestions for decolonizing knowledge production and legitimation within southernized scientific communities. She is a member of the research groups “Socio-Eco” (CADIC, Ushuaia) and “Variaciones de la Carne” (University of La República, Uruguay).

Ruinated landscapes of imperial failed adaptations. © 2018 Mara Dicenta.