A Remittance Forest in Java; Turning Migrant Labour into Agrarian Capital

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Friday, March 31st, 2017

Friday, March 31, 201712:00PM - 2:00PMAP 246, 19 Russell St.
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Development Seminar Series


How does labor migration affect Southeast Asian forests? Political forests and agroforests in Indonesia have been declining rapidly as millions of hectares are given over to industrial plantations and mines, aggravating rural labor surpluses and increasing rates of domestic and transnational migration. In the mountains of Java, where such plantations and political forests date back to government land grabs in the nineteenth century, forests are being reconstituted and reconfigured by unexpected constituents: the daughters and wives of contracted forest workers and other forest villagers. Working as transnational domestic laborers in Hong Kong and other prosperous Asian cities, many invest their accumulated wages in rural resources, remaking forest lands to suit new investments. This talk will examine some of these dynamics as they are playing out in a montane forest in East Java, Indonesia. The question posed initially turns on its head the usual perspectives on forest transitions and agrarian change, demanding greater scholarly attention to the specific ways that mobilities affect both the material and symbolic constructions of place—in this case, political forests of Indonesia.

lunch will be served in the Faculty Lounge at 12:00pm; talk begins at 12:30pm


Rachel Ostep


Nancy Peluso
UC Berkeley


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