Anthropology in a time of climate change: theoretical questions, productive problems

Call for Papers: AAA/CASCA Annual Meeting 2019

Organizers: Julianne Yip, Adam Fleischmann

 

Climate change produces problems for anthropology. Like other global phenomena, its scale is both difficult to comprehend and challenging for the immediate methods of anthropology. Insofar as climate change is anthropogenic (human-made), humans–or, rather, certain forms of human existence–have become a geological force at the planetary level. How can humans, as anthropology ethave claimed, be both cultural beings (more-than-mere-nature) bound to place, yet a global geological force of “nature”? Anthropologists have begun to consider the demands climate change makes with regard to our grounding concepts, politics, methodologies, and how we understand ourselves and our discipline. This panel gathers these conversations to reflect on the theoretical questions climate change poses for anthropology.

Climate change is a productive problem. We cannot experience global climate change in itself, only its effects, mediated. Further, global anthropogenic climate change is only knowable through a vast assemblage of people, practices, processes, things and institutions. How does this shape the sites and methods of anthropological research? To what extent does climate change render visible the organizing principles of our discipline? How does it provoke us to question the epistemic figures of culture (nature), society, the subject, agency, the human/Man, time, history, etc.? These questions are also relevant in light of the unequally and inequitably distributed causes and effects of climate change across time and space. How do theoretical problems raised by climate change situate anthropologists vis-a-vis their relationships with interlocutors, other ethical or political commitments, or anthropology’s historical, colonial origins?

We encourage submissions that explore how climate change challenges (or not) the discipline’s theoretical assumptions in your research.

 

Please send 250-word abstracts and titles to the organizers,

adam.fleischmann@mail.mcgill.ca and jcyip@mit.edu, by 27 March 2019.

 


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