Accepted Paper:

Encountering anthroposols: vitality, risk and anger on Tierra Amarilla  

Author:

Sebastian Ureta (Universidad Alberto Hurtado)

Paper short abstract:

Aiming at messing up conventional scientific narratives, this presentation will present three encounters with anthroposols on Tierra Amarilla, a mining district in northern Chile.

Paper long abstract:

On soil science, anthroposols designate "soils formed from anthropogenic materials or that have major properties … that have been significantly … altered by human activity" (ICOMANTH 2003). This kind of soil has expanded more than any other in recent decades, becoming so ubiquitous that for some authors they should be taken as the "golden spike" signaling the start of the Anthropocene. Critical literature emphasizes that such generalistic notions tend to be oblivious of the social, cultural and ethical elements embedded on such soils' emergence. Engaging with this debate, this presentation will present three encounters with anthroposols on Tierra Amarilla, a mining district in northern Chile. Each one of these encounters assembles a particular version of anthroposols: during an agronomic test they are the source of a strange vitality, during a toxicology sampling process they are a potential health risk, during a tour with an old time neighbor they are a source of anger. These three stories of involvement show us how the Anthropocene is never solely an overarching global phenomenon, as notions such as climate change could lead us to believe. Instead, on Tierra Amarilla we found the emergence of multiple tiny anthropocenes, ethico-material entanglements deeply embedded on the experience and affects of local entities, human and nonhuman. Given the lack of success of our current efforts to tackle the worst effects of "The Anthropocene" - global, singular, atmospheric - maybe an strategy focused on devising practices to better live with these grounded tiny anthropocenes could be much more effective.

Panel A04
Involving compounds