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Kendra McSweeney, professor of geography and distinguished scholar at The Ohio State University, will deliver the annual Wallace W. Atwood Lecture.
In the U.S., prohibition is often considered a thing of the past, evoking speakeasies and Al Capone. Yet the prohibition of other plant- and animal-based commodities has not only endured but expanded. This talk explores the geographies that arise from the global prohibitionary regime targeting one such commodity: cocaine. Drawing on a decade of team science spanning the many spaces of law-making and law-enforcement around cocaine—with particular focus on Central America—I lay out the many ways that drug prohibition initiates a cascade of predictable effects that accelerate climate change and have profound social and ecological consequences not only for the places through which cocaine is trafficked but for all the spaces up and down-stream in the cocaine supply chain, from the Amazon to Massachusetts.
Her primary interest is in human-environment interactions, focusing on issues in cultural and political ecology, conservation and development, resilience, demography, and land use/cover change. Her current projects include tracing the socioecological impacts of drug trafficking through Central America and studying the nature and implications of demographic change among Latin America’s Indigenous populations.