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Environmental forms after the apocalypse: postcolonial science and society amidst industrial ruins 
Syed Shoaib Ali (Southasia Institute of Advanced Studies, Kathmandu, Nepal)
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Rohit Negi (Ambedkar University Delhi)
Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

We invite attention to the aftermath of diverse industrialisation projects in the global south, as sites of renewed epistemic and social action for justice, liveability, and prospects for flourishing.

Long Abstract:

Several strands of 21st-century scholarship on the Anthropocene point to "the end of the world”. The end is less an end of life in itself, but more an end of the world we came to know over the last 500 years of enlightenment, industrialisation, and progress. It turns out that the challenges of living on a finite planet may have less to do with the Malthusian concerns of productivity and overpopulation, and more to do with the aftermath of industrial “piping”, “burning”, “crowding”, and “dumping” (Tsing et al., 2020) in what it took to get here. As rising temperature, sea levels, air pollution, toxic chemicals, and depleted biomes come to play leading roles in what the ecologists have come to see as the “sixth mass extinction”, histories of piping, burning, crowding, and dumping point to the deep inequities of industrialisation and progress alongside manifold erasures of life and places.

Kim Fortun (2012) calls this moment “late industrialism”. Late characterizes asthmatic exhaustion from the lack of air to breathe, where people end up choking on the very stuff that was meant to provide growth. Late also captures a loss of faith in the epistemologies organized under the rubric of scientific knowledge (Todd, 2018). Late also points to a “phase shift” (Choy and Zee, 2015) that consists of new actors, coalitions, and networks that propose to revitalize the prospects for liveability.

For this panel, we are particularly interested in global south scholarship that pieces the aftermath of diverse industrial worlds. This includes new tools, retrofits, infrastructures, and designs for social and epistemic action. The point is not to overemphasize the mess as the end, but what counts as liveability, justice, and prospects for flourishing despite it. The panel is interested in forms of environmental thinking, practice, organizing and change after apocalypse.

Accepted papers: