By Angel Ibanez
UCLA Luskin student writer
Dr. Susanna Hecht, professor of Urban Planning, has been honored as the winner of this year’s Elinor Melville Prize for the best book on Latin American Environmental History.
The Elinor Melville Prize, established in 2007, is a competitive award for the best book in English, French, Spanish or Portuguese published during the previous year on the “study of the mutual influences of social and natural processes in Latin America” and its scholarly contribution by the Conference on Latin American History.
Hecht’s book, The Scramble for the Amazon and the Lost Paradise of Euclides da Cunha, tells the story of the vast exploitation of the Amazon basin by the nineteenth century’s imperial and industrial powers for its rubber, the journey of one of Brazil’s most accomplished writers to unveil the inner workings of the exploitation along the way and the complex social, political and environmental history of the Amazon.
Dr. Hecht’s research has focused on political ecology and her results have had major implications for climate change adaptation, mitigation and longer term rethinking of longer-term resilience strategies. She has also been funded by the NSF, NASA, MacArthur Foundation, ACLS Guggenheim and the Institute for Advanced studies among many other sources.