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Doing and undoing air, fire, soil, and water: the elementary politics and practices of clean and toxic arrangements 
Nasima Selim (University of Bayreuth)
Uddipta Roy (University of Maryland, College Park)
Katharina Schramm (University of Bayreuth)
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Nasima Selim (University of Bayreuth)
Katharina Schramm (University of Bayreuth)
Nasima Selim (University of Bayreuth)
Uddipta Roy (University of Maryland, College Park)
Wednesday 24 July, -Thursday 25 July, -
Time zone: Europe/Madrid
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Short Abstract:

What kind of anthropological, transdisciplinary theory and practice are needed to politicize and dis/entangle air, fire, soil, and water with historical genealogies and situated biosocial practices, reconfiguring these elements in “toxic” and/or “clean” arrangements?

Long Abstract:

If “there is no escaping the toxic world” (Nading 2020, 209) we must expand ethnographic, transdisciplinary attention not only to which elements are made toxic and how, but also their “cleaning” arrangements and relational ontologies (Barad 2003). Air, fire, soil, and water are some of the so-called natural elements implicated in diagnosing toxicity and purifying endeavors. What do we empirically know of the material interrelations of elements that we make into our objects of inquiry (Tironi and Calvillo 2016)? How are transformative practices - breathing, burning, caring, cleaning, clearing, composting, consuming, controlling, digging, drinking, emitting, filling, flooding, fracking, healing, legalizing, maintaining, protesting, polluting, treating, wasting (by no means an exhaustive list) - mobilized as empowered metaphors and in/organic matters in political practice? In this panel we ask, when and how can paying attention to these elements be generative for expanding our understanding of toxicity and cleaning? How are their relations to be done and undone in the company of anthropological, transdisciplinary theory and practice that help navigate “toxic” and “clean” worldings with elemental attunement (see also Stewart 2011)? How can we politicize and dis/entangle these elements by following their historical genealogies and elemental intimacy with biosocial practices? Our panel invites activists, anthropologists, architects, artists, and writers to demonstrate the multifarious un/doing of the politics and practices of “toxic” and “clean” elements.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Wednesday 24 July, 2024, -
Session 2 Thursday 25 July, 2024, -