Inf01
Homo faber revisited
Convenors:
Penny Harvey (University of Manchester)
Petra Tjitske Kalshoven (University of Manchester)
Stream:
Infrastructure
Format:
Location:
Examination Schools Room 15
Start time:
18 September, 2018 at 13:30
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

In the pursuit of an anthropological understanding of human imagination, ingenuity, and hubris engaged in purposefully shaping the natural, we welcome papers that explore, collaboratively, large-scale engineering projects aimed at returning landscapes to the wild.

Long abstract:

Theorising nature and the environment from the perspective of the Anthropocene requires an anthropological understanding of human imagination, ingenuity, and hubris in purposefully shaping the natural. We are interested in collaborative explorations of large-scale engineering projects aimed at returning landscapes to the wild. Whilst anthropology has successfully shown that supposedly natural landscapes are social constellations shaped by human and non-human life, it has been less forthcoming in studying examples of purposeful (re)designing of (previously designed) life worlds with a view of returning these to a carefully engineered natural state. Such projects may shed interesting light on and open up critical debate about conceptions of 'the good' that find material expression as building blocks for a future. We welcome papers reflecting on examples of dedicated human engineering of landscapes considered in need of 'improvement', ranging from initiatives for rewilding to remediation of industrially contaminated sites. Working from the premise that anthropology may both benefit from and contribute to partnerships with other sciences of world making, we are especially interested in approaches that pay close attention to scientific and engineering expertise underlying projects of environmental imagining in practice.