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C03
Ecologies of Harm
Convenors:
Ifor Duncan (Center for Humanities and Social Change, Università Ca' Foscari, Venice)
Nile Davies (Columbia University)
Stream:
Climate Change
Sessions:
Monday 14 September, 16:30-18:00

Short abstract:

This panel considers the entanglement of human bodies and landscapes through "ecologies of harm" - the complex imbrications of political and environmental violence. Such scenes, we posit, are made visible in a variety of ways, through a range of sites and histories, scales and economies.

Long abstract:

This panel considers the entanglement of human bodies and landscapes through what we term "ecologies of harm" - the complex imbrications of political and environmental violence. Such scenes of entanglement, we posit, are made visible in a variety of ways, through a range of sites and histories, scales and economies. Toxicities endure in our ecosystems, revealing the intimate attachments between chemicals and bodies and they cross and join scales of analysis (Agard-Jones 2013). At the same time, critical turns towards "elemental" political technologies appear to offer alternatives to received ontologies of nature/culture and strict "person/thing" distinctions (Gómez-Barris 2017). Governments harness watery forms as a means of statecraft ("hydropolitics"), mobilising rivers and dams as weapons and borders. Wildfires and deforestation enact the enduring "ruination" of colonial dispossession, chiming with the interests of extractive capitalism. Recent crises such as the poisoning of Flint, Michigan reveal the convergence of market forces with the logics of environmental violence, entailing the necropolitical valuation of life as resource or collateral damage. In cities particularly, declarations of "urban blight" have coincided with the spectacle of unnatural disasters, epidemics and environmental emergency, producing zones of exception that effect the marginalisation of the powerless (Klein 2007). Such examples offer up a troubled archive of effects and afterlives, revealing the convergence of populations and ecosystems, as well as the adjacent logics of statecraft and late-capitalism. We welcome grounded methodological proposals that reveal distributions of power and the array of relations, materialities and scales that constitute contemporary social ecologies.