A16
Infrastructures of the Anthropocene

Convenors:
Martin Skrydstrup (Copenhagen Business School)
Martin Mahony (University of East Anglia)
Stream:
Encounters between people, things and environments
Location:
Bowland North Seminar Room 2
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

How can we speak of the politics of the Anthropocene? Revisiting this question raised by postcolonial theorist Chakrabarty (2012), this panel aims to address it by engaging with the history and politics of the infrastructures which have made knowledge of the Anthropocene possible.

Long abstract:

How can we speak of the politics of the Anthropocene? Revisiting this question raised by postcolonial theorist Chakrabarty (2012), this panel aims address it by engaging with the history and politics of the infrastructures which have made knowledge of the Anthropocene possible, and of the ideas which have made it tractable to various forms of power. STS work on the infrastructures of global environmental knowledge-making tend to focus on the global North, and occasionally lapse into whiggish narratives which hide the politics through which such infrastructures expanded and were embedded into various lifeworlds. New work is required which examines these infrastructures within histories of local and trans-local forms of life, economy and power. We propose that by engaging with 20th and 21st century scientific efforts to understand the relationships between weather, agriculture and economy, we can add new texture to our understanding of the knowledge politics of the Anthropocene . For example, in the early 20th century "agro-meteorology" coalesced as a scientific field of interdisciplinary engagement, foreshadowing, the recent emergence, in response to catastrophic environmental events, of ideas and practices of "climate smart agriculture", with their predominant focus on risk, resilience and vulnerable communities. This panel will explore how meteorological knowledge is and has been produced and circulated in colonial and postcolonial contexts, aiming at identifying possible continuities and ruptures between colonial institutions and contemporary weather regimes developed in the Global South as response to both the specter of anthropogenic climate change and their shaping of drought, floods or other hazards.