CALACS Outstanding Dissertation Prize 2017 Winner

It is with great pleasure that CALACS announces the recipient of the 2017 CALACS Outstanding Dissertation Award:

Andrea Carrión, Ph.D.

"The Spatial Restructuring of Resource Regulation: The Gold Mining Enclave of Zaruma and Portovelo, Ecuador (1860-1980)." 2016

Dept. of Geography and Environmental Studies, Carleton University
Co-Supervisors: Dr. Jill Wigle and Dr. Derek Smith
External Examiner: Dr. Anthony Bebbington, Director, Graduate School of Geography, Clark University

The purpose of the CALACS Outstanding Dissertation Prize is to provide recognition to a young scholar who has significantly advanced our understanding of Latin America or the Caribbean.

Dr. Carrion's dissertation is exceptional both in its application of theories in the social sciences as well as in its methodology in the research of the production of space and resource regulation.

As her external examiner remarked, her findings make a valuable contribution to "Ecuadorian historiography, the geographical literature on the production of space, work in Geography & Development Studies on the political economy of natural resource based development, [as well as] the general and growing literature on mining, social conflict and development".

The members of the committee unanimously agreed that the level of complexity, the quality of presentation, organization, methodology and relevance to Latin American studies and beyond were outstanding.

Andrea Carrión's dissertation explores the production of space and the spatial restructuring of resource regulation in the gold mining enclave of Portovelo and Zaruma, Ecuador, between 1860 and 1980. Using the theoretical tools of critical human geography, regulation theory, and political economy, her dissertation analyzes the spatiality of regulation over time in a dialectical manner. Methodologically, the dissertation develops an extended case study with explicit attention to scale as produced through material practices and their associated discourses and power relations. It argues that transnational mining companies, in responding to the international demand for raw materials, do not indiscriminately "penetrate" but, rather, negotiate the conditions for their deployment. Hence, there is an ongoing restructuring and rescaling of regulations that is a product of mediation between extractive capitalism and state formation.

The Outstanding Dissertation Prize will be awarded alongside the new CALACS Graduate Essay Prize and the Distinguished Fellow Award on the evening of June 3rd at the reception held at the Delta Hotel during the annual CALACS Congress.

Dr. Carrion will present a paper related to her dissertation in Panel 24: Extractive Industries and Natural Resources, on Saturday, June 3rd of the 2017 CALACS Conference at the University of Guelph. More details on the Congress are available at:

The evaluation committee would like to congratulate all of the nominees for the outstanding quality of their dissertations, and thank them and their nominators for participating in the competition. It was truly an honour to read them, as collectively, the work submitted speaks well for the state of Latin American and Caribbean Studies in Canada.

The CALACS Board of Directors further expresses its gratitude to the evaluation committee for its service to the Association in completing this important task.

For more information on the CALACS Outstanding Dissertation Prize and a list of past winners, please visit

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Congress 2017