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Undoing the shore, undoing anthropology: thinking geosocial transformation with sand 
Lukas Ley (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology)
Katherine Dawson
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Franz Krause (University of Cologne)
Friday 26 July, -, -
Time zone: Europe/Madrid
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Short Abstract:

This panel invites papers that pay granular attention to the movements and uses of sand and contend with the shore as a space of enduring geosocial transformation.

Long Abstract:

Recent work in anthropology (Gesing 2021, Helmreich 2023) redeems coastal environments as geological and ecological forces to reckon with, not mere background stages for human drama. Sea, wind, and earthly matter inflect life on shore, enabling and constraining the transformative work of organisms, economic schemes, and infrastructures. Today, sea level rise coupled with subsidence and storms frequently undoes these sociomaterial arrangements or triggers (state) interventions that displace coastal dwellers. To understand this undoing, the panel focuses on sand, which roams the shore as sediment or airborne particle, patterning wave activity, infrastructural development, and temporality (Zee 2017). Drawing on work that investigates granular material to disentangle the sociomaterial foundations of life (Dawson 2023) or conceptualize the porosity of geospatial relations (Jamieson 2021), we ask panelists to engage with the shore as an emerging “geosocial formation” (Clark and Yusoff 2017). Papers may describe how sand and coastal matter not only inform how people do things on shore, such as fishing and embanking, but how it also “grounds” global processes. They may analyze models for coastal interventions that travel internationally (e.g. Sand Engine) and materialize in specific historical contexts. Papers can also deal with activist efforts to protect coastal ecologies from reclamation projects. Together, panelists examine processes by which sand “leaks” into ethnography, as a generative matter (un)making anthropological methods and theoretical practice. How does the focus on sand as active ingredient of coasts undo anthropology, as researchers must work across disciplinary boundaries? How can these collaborations do theory for livable coastal futures?

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Friday 26 July, 2024, -
Session 2 Friday 26 July, 2024, -