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“(Un)Knowing Harm: Localised Epistemic Responses to Global Environmental Degradation”

Datum
23. Juli – 26. Juli 2024 

CfP/Panel “(Un)Knowing Harm: Localised Epis­temic Respons­es to Glob­al Envi­ron­men­tal Degra­da­tion” at EASA2024: Doing and Undo­ing with Anthro­pol­o­gy (Barcelona, 23–26 July 2024)


“(Un)Knowing Harm: Localised Epis­temic Respons­es to Glob­al Envi­ron­men­tal Degradation”

EASA2024: Doing and Undo­ing with Anthro­pol­o­gy (Barcelona)

Date: 23–26 July 2024

The dead­line for paper sub­mis­sions is 22 Jan­u­ary 2024. Please note that the pan­el will take place face-to-face.

Short Abstract:
The pan­el exam­ines the tech­niques and tech­nolo­gies by which envi­ron­men­tal dam­age and harm on the indi­vid­ual and the social body become known and unknown, voiced and silenced, man­i­fest­ed and repressed, thus shed­ding light onto the nexus of epis­temic uncer­tain­ty and envi­ron­men­tal injustice.

Long Abstract:
Cap­i­tal­ist extrac­tivism, indus­tri­al­ism, mil­i­tarism, and ongo­ing forms of colo­nial­ism leave the plan­et dam­aged. Be it the loss of habi­tats for human com­mu­ni­ties and oth­er forms of life or the amounts of tox­ic con­t­a­m­i­nants that suf­fuse the envi­ron­ment, the very real­i­ty of envi­ron­men­tal dam­age is often con­test­ed as it gets tan­gled in process­es of know­ing, unknow­ing, denial, dis­avow­al, and igno­rance. Pow­er­ful actors—state author­i­ties, cor­po­ra­tions, the military—all play a cen­tral role in such pol­i­tics of (un)knowing by exer­cis­ing monop­o­lies on sci­en­tif­ic and expert knowl­edge, there­by pre­scrib­ing what ought to be known and unknown in order to pro­tect their polit­i­cal, eco­nom­ic, and strate­gic inter­ests. Civ­il soci­ety organ­i­sa­tions, activist groups, and indi­vid­u­als often protest such epis­temic and envi­ron­men­tal injus­tices, fight­ing for greater trans­paren­cy and access to knowl­edge. But what counts as knowl­edge is fre­quent­ly disputed—even when it comes in the form of hard sci­en­tif­ic evidence—not only by the vest­ed inter­ests of pow­er, but also by those who bear the bur­den of envi­ron­men­tal harm. For it is not uncom­mon for peo­ple and groups to har­ness prac­tices of (un)knowing to deal with envi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion in ways that might allow them to escape stig­ma­ti­sa­tion, resist or refuse empow­ered con­straints, or sim­ply live lives that are more meaningful.

We invite ethno­graph­i­cal­ly-rich papers that exam­ine the tech­niques and tech­nolo­gies by which envi­ron­men­tal dam­age and harm on the indi­vid­ual and the social body become known and unknown, voiced and silenced, man­i­fest­ed and repressed, thus shed­ding light onto the nexus of epis­temic uncer­tain­ty and envi­ron­men­tal injus­tice in late industrialism.

More info

Pan­el convenors:
Niko­laos Olma (Leib­niz-Zen­trum Mod­ern­er Ori­ent – ZMO)
Rishabh Ragha­van (Max Planck Insti­tute for Social Anthropology)