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Accepted Paper:

Existential (dis)connections: decolonising 'bereavement' and 'grief' through Majority world perspectives and the implications for Anthropocene thinking.  
Jane McCarthy (Open University University of Reading)

Paper short abstract:

To raise the need to connect work on bereavement/death/change/loss, with issues of global oppression/exploitation/diversity, and the significance of these (dis)connections for the planetary crisis

Paper long abstract:

The climate and ecological emergency creates existential challenges to all life on earth, raising issues of how humanity can face our own mortality, along with the inevitable losses and changes arising with the CEE. Current models of bereavement and grief, while often claiming universality for the knowledge produced, are founded in affluent white Anglophone understandings of life and death. At the same time, the origins of the planetary emergency are rooted in colonial histories of the exploitation of all life and resources on earth. This situation seriously undermines efforts to deal with the CEE, while also simultaneously creating major issues of social and epistemic injustice. Anthropocene thinking thus demands urgent new perspectives and interconnections between issues of:

• The planetary emergency

• Death, loss and change

• Dominion over, and exploitation of, all life and resources on earth.

These three aspects are intimately interconnected, yet our knowledge of each largely occurs in siloes. While ‘Western’ models of ‘bereavement’ have been exported to the rest of the world (Klass and Chow, 2011), different places have different histories associated with different social theories and ways of responding to death and its continuing aftermath. By focusing only on political and economically powerful regions, death and bereavement studies limit the questions asked and the conclusions drawn. Drawing on insights from Senegal and Sudan in particular, this presentation will explore non-Eurocentric experiences and knowledge of the continuing aftermath of death and the implications for humanity’s capacity to address the existential challenges at stake.

Panel P46
Coloniality and the Anthropocene thinking: voices of non-Eurocentric knowledges and beings.
  Session 1 Thursday 29 June, 2023, -