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Accepted Paper:

Post-COVID Future Making: Climate Change, COVID-19, and the Overcoming the Spectre of Overpopulation  
Nayantara Sheoran Appleton (Victoria University of Wellington)

Paper short abstract:

The climate crisis and COVID-19 pose threats to life (and lifestyles) globally. A just post-COVID world, will require a collective critical unpacking of discourse around these crises that situates certain people in certain places (like India) as problematic because of fears of ‘overpopulation.'

Paper long abstract:

In collectively dealing with COVID -19 and its concomitant climate change, we are seeing increasing conversations in non-scientific spaces about human consumption patterns, extractive economic structures, illnesses, and the environment. As we live through this new challenge to human life (and lifestyles), scholars of South-Asia have a twofold challenge. The first is to identify the places and structures that may have led us to this point while paying particular attention to Asia (and its histories). Second, is to work towards a future that is not replicating these problems and looking for solutions to enable a sustainable life for all. In the recent past, often the spectre of population-control has reared its head, in all its various avatars from ‘family planning,’ ‘empowering women,’ to ‘contraceptive rights.’ Today, in light of COVID-19, conversations on over-population emerge as rhetoric around ‘population-density,’ ‘nation of 1.3 billion,’ ‘largest lockdown in the world,’ ‘migrant crisis,’ etc. This discourse first casts population as the problem causing virus spread, illnesses, environmental degradation, food shortages, and overall scarcity; and in the second instance as the site for ‘management’ to ensure better future(s). With a focus on India, I outline the problematics of populationism and the dangers of locating population as the site for managing the environmental crisis or COVID-19. Aiming for a nuanced reading of the contemporary, this presentation makes suggestions for future-making work that reconfigures if, how, and when we can talk about population in light of climate change and COVID-19 in and from India/South Asia.

Panel Exti05
Reproduction, kinship and generation in the face of climate crisis
  Session 1 Monday 29 March, 2021, -