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Exploring the Secret of the Earth: Oil, Modernization, and Culture in 20th century Venezuela

Dr. Gianfranco Selgas will give a lecture (in Spanish) for students and researchers at Ghent University

Dr. Gianfranco Selgas, researcher at the Nordic Institute of Latin American Studies (NILAS), will give the lecture “Explorando el secreto de la tierra: petróleo, modernización y cultura en el siglo XX venezolano” (in Spanish) at Ghent University (Belgium). The lecture will take place on May 9, 14:30-16:00 (Zoom) and the first part will be open for external participants. Contact Laura Welsch ( to receive the link.

The beginning of the twentieth century marked Venezuela’s rapid insertion into the vortex of petroleum and mineral extraction. The extraction and capitalization of nature forced the country to re-think its relationship with the environment. This process, characterized by an eagerness for modernization, resulted in a series of discourses focused on Venezuela’s Amazonia as a repository of possibilities. The lecture will propose a socio-ecological history of Venezuela during the boom of fossil fuel extraction. It will pay specific attention to the essay on Venezuelan geography and culture by Enrique Bernardo Núñez “Una ojeada al mapa de Venezuela” (1939), tracing an early reading of the ideological configuration of Venezuela and its Amazonia as a land of inexhaustible material and poetic richness.

Affisch_Lezing_Gianfranco Selgas De Silvi_ Explorando el secreto de la tierra