Literature Program

Friday, March 2, 2012 at 4:00 p.m.


UB Humanities Institute presents

Trina Hamilton

Scholars at Hallwalls Lecture Series

Market Fictions: Constructing Ethical Spaces for the Global Diamond Trade

Canada is now the third largest diamond producer in the world and has quickly cornered the ethical diamond market. Producers and retailers have traded on Canada's reputation as an environmental and human rights leader and utopian visions of a pristine arctic landscape to market Canada as an ethical production space. These purity narratives are often contrasted with blood diamond portrayals of Africa. Ethical markets are subject to continuous contestation, however, and alternative narratives, including an African empowerment narrative backed by hip hop mogul Russell Simmons, are challenging Canada's purported ethical monopoly. This project aims to identify the multiplicity and evolution of narratives used to market ethical production spaces, as well as the consumer desires and personal narratives that motivate ethical consumption and mediate the consumer-led governance of the global diamond trade. This diversity provides a market for both the more and less fictionalized representations of ethical spaces, with very real consequences for social and environmental standards at production sites. Presented by Trina Hamilton.