CFP RGS IBG 2018 Excavating multispecies landscapes: temporalities, materialities and the more-than-human Anthropocene
Call for papers: RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, Cardiff University, 28–31 August 2018
Excavating multispecies landscapes: temporalities, materialities and the more-than-human Anthropocene
Session organisers: Aurora Fredriksen (University of Manchester) and Charlotte Wrigley (Queen Mary, University of London)
Along with eroding coastlines (Matless 2017) and the ‘blasted’ ruins of capitalist development (Tsing 2017), nonhuman beings are key signals of the Anthropocene in landscapes. Changing migration patterns, novel colonisations, extinctions, adaptive mutations and hybridisations make legible the material transformation of landscapes through melting ice, warming seas, desertification, toxification. The current or threatened absence of once present species fold in remembered, forgotten and imagined pasts and alternately apocalyptic and redemptive futures into a present of haunted, spectral landscapes (e.g., Whale and Ginn 2017; Gan et al 2017: G1). This is evident in popular imaginaries of the Anthropocene as human induced environmental catastrophe – in visions of a ‘silent spring’ (Carson 1962), ‘insectageddon’ (Monbiot 2017), and coral reef ‘graveyards’ and ‘ghost towns’ – that foreground the absence of once present nonhuman beings in beloved landscapes. It is also evident in projections for a so-called ‘good Anthropocene’ that envision a near future in which technoscientific progress and human ingenuity are able to ‘turn back time’ and/or alter the future by returning long absent nonhuman species to landscapes through restoration, rewilding or de-extinction initiatives. As the Anthropocene invites a reassessment of humanity’s place in the geologic timescale, nonhumans become intricately entangled in these shifting temporalities: cryobanks stash endangered species’ DNA as a future safeguard against extinctions (Chrulew 2017) whilst melting ice reveals prehistoric carcasses and thousands of years of fossilised climate data.
Beyond total absence or abundant presence, there are smaller, sometimes stranger ways that nonhuman beings make the Anthropocene legible in landscapes: old trees calling out in flower for symbiont animal pollinators that are now absent, signalling a loss of synchronous time and cascading transformations of place (Rose 2012); hybrid polar-grizzly bears wandering the edge of exposed shores once covered in ice extending out to sea; a type of bacteria found only in the rectums of geese digesting toxic waste from mines (Hird and Yusoff 2018); and long dormant microbiotic pathogens from the deep past re-emerging as permafrost melts in arctic landscapes. In these and many other possible examples, carefully attending to the signs writ into landscapes by nonhuman beings can unsettle anthropocentric narratives of the Anthropocene centred on the history of Modern (western) humanity and its future dissolution or redemption, calling forth more ambivalent, multivocal narratives of multispecies worldings in flux (DeLoughrey 2015).
This session invites contributions that engage with the ways in which nonhuman beings signal the Anthropocene in landscapes. Potential themes include (but are not limited to):
• Changing and novel nonhuman agencies in response to the material transformation of landscapes
• Absence/presence of nonhumans and folded temporalities in haunted/spectral landscapes
• Landscapes as multispecies worldings
• More-than-human affects in landscape encounters
• Speculative futures for more-than-human landscapes
• Transmogrification and monstrous landscapes
We especially encourage contributions that unsettle anthropocentric and/or occidental readings of the Anthropocene in landscapes.
Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words to firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com by 5 February 2018.
Carson, R. (1962) Silent Spring. New York: Houghton Mifflin.
Chrulew, M. (2017) “Freezing the Ark: The Cryopolitics of Endangered Species Preservation” in J. Radin and E. Kowal (eds.) Cryopolitics: Frozen Life in a Melting World, 283–305. Cambridge: The MIT Press.
DeLoughrey, E. (2015) ‘Ordinary futures: interspecies worldings in the Anthropocene’ in Global Ecologies and the Environmental Humanities: Postcolonial Approaches, edited by E. DeLoughrey, J. Didur, A. Carrigan. London: Routledge.
Hird, M. and Yusoff, K. (2018) [forthcoming] ‘Traversing Plateaus in Microbial-Mineral Relation’. The American Association of Geographers: Annual Meeting, April 10-14, New Orleans.
Gan, E., Tsing, A., Swanson, H., Bubandt, N. (2017) ‘Haunted landscapes of the Anthropocene’ in A. Tsing, H, Swanson, E Gan and N. Bubandt (eds) Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet. Minneapolis: Minnesota.
Whale, H. and Ginn, F. (2017) “In the Absence of Sparrows.” In A. Cunsolo and K. Landman (eds) Mourning Nature: Hope at the Heart of Ecological Loss and Grief, 92–116. London: Routledge.
Matless, D. (2017) ‘The Anthroposcenic’. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 42(3): 363–76.
Monbiot, G. (2017) ‘Insectageddon: Farming Is More Catastrophic than Climate Breakdown’. The Guardian, October 20. URL: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/20/insectageddon-farming-catastrophe-climate-breakdown-insect-populations.
Rose, D. B. (2012) “Multispecies Knots of Ethical Time.” Environmental Philosophy, Special Issue “Temporal Environments: Rethinking Time and Ecology”9 (1):127–40.
Tsing, A. (2017) The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
CMNH Symposium: Blackness and the Complex Temporalities of the Transatlantic Slave Trade
1st Jun 2018 9:00am-5:00pm
Call for PapersRegistration: Free
Keynote Speaker: Professor Robbie Shilliam (Queen Mary, University of London).
The work of Black Studies is constitutively concerned with the negotiation of complex temporalities: from Denise Ferreira da Silva’s work on ‘reimagining sociality’ around ‘the principle of nonlocality’, which she understands as a challenge to the ‘linear temporality’ of the (white, European) subject of modernity (‘On Difference Without Separability’); to Saidiya Hartman’s claim that ‘the distinction between the past and the present founders on the interminable grief engendered by slavery and its aftermath’ (‘The Time of Slavery’); to Fred Moten’s imagining of black life as a form of improvisation that ‘look[s] ahead with a kind of torque that shapes what’s being looked at’ (In the Break). Black Studies’ interrogation of racialised modernity is one that seeks to excavate and valorise the complex time of blackness, refusing a restorative narrative of black history that would efface histories of mourning, accounting or resistance.
This one day symposium will engage the work of these and other scholars to think through the ways these complex temporalities are performed, instantiated and negotiated across a variety of interrelated conceptual and/or historical contexts. It aims to critically engage the ways in which claims on the past are shaped by the contemporary politics of ‘race’ and the ways in which those claims work to occlude the centrality of the radical black tradition to the making of the modern world. We invite proposals for contributions from a range of disciplines, including but not limited to memory studies, cultural history, critical theory, geography, political theory, literary theory, performance studies and philosophy, as well as from work that is interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary or undisciplinary.
Proposals of no more than three-hundred words should be sent to Tim Huzar: T.Huzar@brighton.ac.uk.
Deadline for submission: Monday 21st May
Time, Memory and Conflict: Critical Approaches
An interdisciplinary, one-day conference at the University of Brighton, 6th July 2018
9.30-5pm in M2 Boardroom, Grand Parade
Organised by the Centre for Memory, Narrative and Histories, University of Brighton
Research on the complex inter–relations between past, present and future in the time after political violence often leads us to question and push the boundaries of established theories and methods. Increasingly, work in this area reflects a critical awareness of the different modalities of time and memory within and across various post-conflict contexts. That being said, more can be done to further methodological and theoretical links between different approaches to studying time, memory and conflict. This can take the form ofresearch into unexplored contexts, or critical reflections on established frameworks and debates.
Bringing together scholars from an array of different intellectual fields, this conference aims to encourage a set of conversations on how we might approach and understand the multi-directional interplay between experiences and representations of a ‘past’ that in many ways is not ‘over’, but which overshadows the present and complicates the imagining of the future. Key questions and areas of exploration are: What are the ethical and political commitments of research in post-conflict contexts? How does this research relate to questions of positionality? How might new research areas or critical reflections on established practical and theoretical approaches further our understanding of time, memory and conflict?
‘Post-conflict Futures: Temporal Orientations After Catastrophe”
Prof. Rebecca Bryant, University of Utrecht, Netherlands
Suggestions for paper themes as follows:
Please submit your abstract by Friday 8th June 2018 to firstname.lastname@example.org
We welcome proposals of no more than 300 words for 20-minute papers. Abstracts from postgraduate researchers and early-career scholars are particularly encouraged.
The event will be free of charge, but places are limited.
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