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Accepted Paper:

Circuits of responsbility and blame in the translocation and engineered re-birth of Arctic megafauna  
David Anderson (University of Aberdeen)

Paper short abstract:

Wildlife managers and Arctic Indiginous peoples have been locked in a debate of blame and responsiblity over the reproduction of keystone species. This paper examines the cases of Cold War muskox translocation and woolly mammoth de-extinction as a recurring debate on how best to encourage life.

Paper long abstract:

Wildlife managers and Arctic Indigenous Peoples have been locked into a centuries-old debate about how best to curate the lives of Arctic megafauna. Through examining the cases of the Cold-War translocation of muskoxen from Canada to the Soviet Union, and the recent attempts to resurrect woolly mammoth by applying gene splicing technology, this paper teases out the circuits of blame and responsiblity articulated by state managers and local residents. Broadly framed within the mythic theme of the Pleistocene Extinction, applied wildlife managers seek to restore lost populations presumably ravaged by primitive hunters wielding advanced stone tools, foreshadowing the 20th century arms race. In this case, settler urban scientists frame themselves as redeeming the faults of the forebearers of Indigenous citizens. The attempts to retrobreed wooly mammoths require a broader alliance of recruiting Indigenous hunters to prospect frozen carcasses from melting permafrost layers in North Central Siberia. The experimental laboratory methods, however, pull on late Enlightenment tropes of judgement and gaze giving scientists the power to "make live and not let die" (Kowal & Radin 2015). These methods sit in uneasy debate with local cosmologies which experience life in a less than literal way, and always in a moral dialogue with those on the surface. The paper concludes with an argument about a broad way to reimagine the potentialities of life, which speaks to the case for multiple and reinforcing cosmopolitics.

Panel Irre07
Responsibility and blame in the transformational projects of the Anthropocene
  Session 1 Wednesday 31 March, 2021, -