CHILDREN OF THE RAINFOREST by C. Morelli & R.D. Tumi Dësi (2023)

Children of the RainforestChildren of the Rainforest

Shaping the Future in Amazonia

By Camilla Morelli 
Forword and Afterword by Roldán Dunú Tumi Dësi

Rutgers University Press, 2023

Children of the Rainforest explores the lives of children growing up in a time of radical change in Amazonia. The book draws on ethnographic fieldwork conducted with the Matses, a group of hunter-gatherer forest dwellers who have lived in voluntary isolation until fairly recently. Having worked with them for over a decade, returning every year to their villages in the rainforest, Camilla Morelli follows closely the life-trajectories of Matses children, watching them shift away from the forest-based lifestyles of their elders and move towards new horizons crisscrossed by concrete paving, lit by the glow of electric lights and television screens, and centered around urban practices and people. The book uses drawings and photographs taken by the children themselves to trace the children’s journeys—lived and imagined—from their own perspectives, proposing an ethnographic analysis that recognizes children’s imaginations, play, and shifting desires as powerful catalysts of social change.

Available at: (discount code: RFLR19)

Table of contents

  • Foreword by Roldán Dunú Tumi Dësi
  • Introduction
  1. The Child in the Forest: A Glimpse into the Childhood of the Past
  2. River Horizons: Moving toward the Big Water
  3. The Sound of Inequality: Children as Agents of Economic Change
  4. Consuelo’s Dolls: Shifting Desires and the Subversion of Womanhood
  5. Jean-Claude Van Damme in the Rainforest: The Spoken Weapons of Masculinity
  6. Yearning for Concrete: Children’s Imagination as a Catalyst for Change
  7. Urban Futures: When Dreams of Concrete Come True
  • Conclusion
  • Afterword by Roldán Dunú Tumi Dësi

About the authors

Camilla Morelli is a lecturer in social anthropology at the University of Bristol, UK.

Roldán Dunú Tumi Dësi is an Indigenous Amazonian anthropologist with a degree in anthropology from the Universidad Nacional de la Amazonía Peruana (UNAP) in Iquitos, Peru.

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