Fritz Culp

Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Languages, Literatures and Cultures

First Advisor

Mercedes López Rodríguez


My dissertation examines how transnational mega-mines efface non-Western ways of knowing and being from the Andes. A growing branch of research is questioning the socio-environmental impacts of mining and the influence of regulatory institutions. Despite remarkable scholarship on the ongoing environmentalism of modern-mining, little critical attention has been given to the industry’s pivot to ‘sustainable’ development and its objectives that remain epistemologically centered on the West. My project addresses these gaps by examining Las Bambas—a large-scale copper mine located in South-Central Peru—and its contrasting objectives that emphasize both environmental ‘conservation’ and the ‘modernization’ of non-Western spaces. Building upon the critical work of Maritza Paredes, Michael Wilson Becerril, and Javier Arellano-Yanguas, I argue that generous amounts of corporate welfare and sustainability efforts are responsible for generating cyclical patterns of violence and conflict in the Andes. Drawing upon my background in literature, I analyze a range of cultural materials: environmental law, sustainability reports, oral testimonies and memory, presidential speeches, and news media journalism. My first chapter discusses the role of the regulatory apparatus in Peru and its contradictions which enable miners to essentially self-regulate. The next chapter explores the dynamics of corporate-community relations and the displacement of rural farmers to a modern suburban resettlement. The final chapter examines violence in Las Bambas, exploring its presence in the environment, gender relations, and popular discourses. Layering these findings together, my dissertation outlines the precarious impacts of mining that extend well-beyond the environmental realm, underscoring the ways that ‘sustainable’ development subverts customary value systems and disrupts the space of everyday life.


© 2022, Fritz Culp

Available for download on Friday, May 31, 2024