RGS-IBG Annual Conference, London, 29th August – 1st September 2017
Resource Temporalities: Anticipations, Retentions and Afterlives
Session Convenors: Dr Kärg Kama (Oxford, Geography) & Dr Gisa Weszkalnys (LSE, Anthropology)
Deadline: 5th February 2017
Recent work in resource geography and anthropology has demonstrated the need to move beyond issues of resource control and distribution toward a critical examination of how resources are made (Bridge 2013, Kama 2013, Li 2014, Richardson and Weszkalnys 2014). A focus on resource-making draws attention to the distributed quality of resources as always in-becoming, rather than biophysically or geophysically given, substances. It also reveals their indeterminate and often speculative nature as the outcome of a variety of techno-scientific, governmental, entrepreneurial, and financial practices (e.g. Majury 2014, Valdivia 2015, Weszkalnys 2015, Zalik 2015). Inherent to this process of resource-making are important temporal aspects, which have remained remarkably underexplored. In this session, we take the existing literature as a springboard to ask new questions about the multiple temporalities generated by processes of resource-making ranging from anticipations of resource matters, to their diverse retentions, to other temporal and material states once processed or unmade as a resource.
Resource-making rarely follows a linear trajectory. Its projected successes are often no more than a grasping for self-fulfilling prophecies, and its achievements are partly bound to the legacies of past and present resource production through types of path-dependency and lock-ins. Current examples of resource-making projects highlight their incremental yet spatio-temporally contingent nature, including the mortgaging of hydrocarbon futures by emerging producer states, a practice recently called into question by falling oil prices; the constitution of “reclaimed” landscapes in the context of mine decommissioning and closure; the production of overinflated resource estimates in the quest for “unconventional” fossil fuels and novel extractive spaces (e.g. ocean seabeds); as well as the specific modes of financialisation now encountered at resource frontiers, which produce various absences and presences across the domains of science and market. Important questions are also raised by the parallel life of extractive waste products and by projects of resource-making that have been blocked or indefinitely postponed due to scientific, political, or economic factors.
We invite papers that explore the diverse engagements with time that underpin these and other resource-making endeavours, drawing on a range of methods and trans-disciplinary analytical approaches. Contributions may address (but are not limited to) the following themes:
For more information on the conference, please see the following link: http://www.rgs.org/WhatsOn/ConferencesAndSeminars/Annual+International+Conference/Annual+international+conference.htm
Understanding Material Loss Across Time and Space Conference
17-18 February 2017, University of Birmingham
Understanding Material Loss intends to examine the usefulness of ‘loss’ as an analytical framework across different disciplines and subfields, but principally within historical studies. Loss and absence are slowly being recognized as significant factors in historical processes, particularly in relation to the material world. Archaeologists, anthropologists, philosophers, literary scholars, sociologists and historians have increasingly come to understand the material world as an active and shaping force. Nevertheless, while significant, such studies have consistently privileged material presence as the basis for understanding how and why the material world has played an increasingly important role in the lives of humans. In contrast, Understanding Material Loss suggests that instances of absence, as much as presence, provide important means of understanding how and why the material world has shaped human life and historical processes.
Speculative and exploratory in nature, Understanding Material Loss asserts that in a period marked by ecological destruction, but also economic austerity, large scale migration and increasing resource scarcity, it is important that historians work to better understand the ways in which humans have responded to material loss in the past and how such responses have shaped change. Understanding Material Loss asks: how have humans historically responded to material loss and how has this shaped historical processes? The conference will bring together a range of scholars in an effort more to begin to explore and frame a problem, than provide definitive answers.
Confirmed keynote speakers include:
Thanks to Past & Present and the University of Birmingham for their generous support for the conference
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