Decolonial Ecologies: The Reinvention of Natural History in Latin American Art - cover image


Joanna Page

Published On





  • English

Print Length

296 pages (xviii+278)


Paperback156 x 21 x 234 mm(6.14" x 0.81" x 9.21")
Hardback156 x 24 x 234 mm(6.14" x 0.94" x 9.21")


Paperback566g (19.97oz)
Hardback750g (26.46oz)



OCLC Number





  • HBT
  • HBTR
  • WN
  • ABA
  • 1KL
  • RNA
  • RNT


  • HIS000000
  • HIS024000
  • POL045000
  • ART044000
  • SCI020000
  • HIS054000


  • N6750


  • contemporary artists
  • Latin America
  • collecting nature
  • organizing nature
  • displaying nature
  • new aesthetic
  • political perspectives

Decolonial Ecologies

The Reinvention of Natural History in Latin American Art

  • Joanna Page (author)
In Decolonial Ecologies: The Reinvention of Natural History in Latin American Art, Joanna Page illuminates the ways in which contemporary artists in Latin America are reinventing historical methods of collecting, organizing, and displaying nature in order to develop new aesthetic and political perspectives on the past and the present.

Page brings together an entirely new corpus of artistic projects from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru that engage critically and creatively with forms as diverse as the medieval bestiary, baroque cabinets of curiosities, atlases created by European travellers to the New World, the floras and herbaria composed by eighteenth- and nineteenth-century naturalists, and the dioramas designed for natural history museums. She explores how artists develop decolonial and post-anthropocentric perspectives on the collections and expeditions that were central to the evolution of European natural history. Their works forge a critique of the rationalizing approach to nature taken by modern Western science, reconnecting it with forms of popular, indigenous and spiritual knowledge and experience that it has systematically excluded since the Enlightenment.

Drawing on photography, video, illustration, sculpture, and installation, this vividly illustrated and lucidly written book (also available in premium quality in hardback edition) explores how these artworks might also deconstruct the apocalyptic visions of environmental change that often dominate Western thought, developing a renewed understanding of alternative ways in which humans might co-inhabit the natural world.


Against the “one-world” orientation of much environmental criticism, Decolonial Ecologies offers a wellspring of neobaroque aesthetics: artistic interventions that challenge the schemas of natural science mobilized by European explorers and thinkers, from Pedro de Mendoza and José Celestino Mutis to Carl Linnaeus. The cosmotechnics of contemporary Latin American artists take us into an alternative Enlightenment - the age of Humboldt 2.0. To great satisfaction, we experience the resurgence of living agents and relations as they break out of the frames, cabinets and discursive parameters formalized during the Enlightenment. As Joanna Page shows, though inhuman geographies continually threaten, it is nevertheless possible to see alternative ecologies of consciousness shine through.

Amanda Boetzkes

Author of 'Plastic Capitalism: Contemporary Art' and the 'Drive to Waste and The Ethics of Earth Art'



(pp. 1–24)
  • Joanna Page
  • Joanna Page


(pp. 237–248)
  • Joanna Page


Joanna Page

Professor of Latin American Studies at University of Cambridge

Joanna Page is Professor of Latin American Studies and the Director of CRASSH (the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities) at the University of Cambridge. She is the author of several books on cinema, graphic fiction, literature and visual art in Argentina, Chile, and Latin America more broadly. Many of her research projects focus on the relationship between science and the arts, but her interests also include posthumanism, new materialism, decoloniality and environmental thought in Latin America. Her most recent monograph was Decolonizing Science in Latin American Art (UCL Press, 2021). Other books published in the past few years include Geopolitics, Culture, and the Scientific Imaginary in Latin America (co-edited with María del Pilar Blanco, University Press of Florida, 2020) and Posthumanism and the Graphic Novel in Latin America (co-authored with Edward King, UCL Press, 2017).