CFP: ‘Not drowning but fighting’: Decolonising the Anthropocene

Image: Tokelauns protest during Pacific Warrior Day of Action (Te Mana: Litia Maiava) via ABC Australia

We all may be a geophysical force, we may all be geology,
but we don’t matter, are matter and own matter equally.
Despite this realisation, we feel like we’ve been rendered geologically active,
but politically rather passive.
We pass through premature fossilisation in the face of nature’s agency
that we are suddenly able to perceive, apparently through Bruno Latour.
Shouting, flailing, we spew forth a deluge of cultural production
that portrays us as just that: already dead.

While the Anthropocene is embraced as an opportunity to reframe our engagement with the ‘geo’ in geography or even geopolitics, the on-going struggles against the dynamics that gave rise to the phenomenon of the Anthropocene are rarely mentioned. At best, the image of the Anthropocene serves to confirm the excesses of capitalism or is used to fantasise about a complicity of the Earth with socialist ideals of revolution. But mostly, discourse around the Anthropocene extends the experience economy into deep time and the earth’s core through affective engagements. The great Promethean realisation of the (M)anthropocene liberates us from paying attention to the everyday struggles against continued injustices against humans and nonhumans alike. In this session we would like to make present the not-so-present narratives of the Anthropocene in geographical discourse, especially around violence, inequality, white supremacy and on-going colonialism.
What does it mean, to use Aimé Césaire’s words, ‘to inhabit the face of a great disaster’, to witness and participate in its continued (re)production, both inside and outside of academia? What examples of contestation and intervention provoke re-inscription?

We invite responses for a session for the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference ‘Geographies of the Anthropocene’ in Exeter, UK (1-4 September 2015).
Please e-mail abstracts (250 words) to  Kathryn Yusoff (, Anja Kanngieser ( or Angela Last ( by 1 February 2015.


One thought on “CFP: ‘Not drowning but fighting’: Decolonising the Anthropocene

  1. You may be interested in the following workshop:

    Call for Papers

    Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”

    Cost Action IS1101 Workshop
    Media Discourse(s):
    Adaptation, Resilience and Mobility in the Context of Climate-induceMigration

    9 – 10 April 2015

    Katherine E. Russo (Università degli Studi di Napoli L’Orientale)
    Giovanni Bettini (Lancaster University)

    Confirmed Keynote Speaker:
    Ruth Wodak
    (Distinguished Professor and Chair in Discourse Studies at Lancaster University)

    In recent years, the academic and policy interest in climate-related migration has gathered pace. The issue is discussed in the UNFCCC Cancun Adaptation Framework as well as in the latest IPCC’s Assessment Report, and it has entered the agenda of a series of international agencies and institutions such as UNHCR, the World Bank, UNEP, and the European Council. A variety of refrains populate the debate, with ‘climate refugees’ and ‘climate migrants’ becoming emblematic figures that provide an embodiment (a human face) to diverging discourses on climate change, adaptation, development, resilience and human mobility. It should be of little surprise that climate migration, with its emblematic and evocative charge, has also increasingly come under the media’s spotlight.
    While there is a substantial body of research on the empirical and policy aspects of the climate-migration nexus (not least by critical scholars), the question of how it is represented in media discourse(s) (Talbot 2007), and of the effects of such representations, remains somehow underexplored.
    This workshop aims to fill this gap by trying to reach some significant insights on the current representations of climate-related migration in media discourse(s). Besides providing background and explanatory information on events, media refrains intervene on morale (Anderson 2010) thereby conditioning the social apprehension and response to climate change, adaptation, resilience and mobility. Lexico-grammatical and discursive resources which regulate appraisal, affect and evaluation may be employed explicitly to inscribe and/or implicitly to invoke affects such as worry and fear, not in order to prevent and prescribe them but to intensify and diffuse them (Martin and White 2005). Relatedly, the role of affective factors in fuelling media interventions and shaping their representations of adaptation, resilience and mobility should not be underestimated. The media invest in affect, which modulates the circulation and distribution of worry and fear, not in order to prevent and prescribe them but by intensifying, multiplying, and saturating the linguistic, discursive and cultural communication through which communities and identities come in and out of formation. The resulting culture emerges as a defining aspect of identity and agency, and as a trigger of new processes of subjectivation (Crawford 2009). This is of particular relevance for migration, which per definition entails the renegotiation (and contestation) of social as well as spatial borders/boundaries inscribed in and producing subjectivities (Mezzadra and Neilson 2014). As the Critical Discourse Analysis scholar Ruth Wodak notes, “‘inclusion/exclusion’ of groups, people, nation-states, migrant groups, changes due to different criteria of how insiders and outsiders are defined in each instance. In this way various topologies, or group memberships, are constructed, which sometimes include a certain group, and sometimes do not, depending on socio-political and situational contexts and interactions” (2008: 56). In drawing lines of exclusion/inclusion that order and govern climate migration, media and the affect they mobilize play crucial roles, exercising diverse impacts on community relations and on matters of hospitality and intercultural communication – crucially, influencing the ways in which discourses of adaptation, resilience and mobility emerge as sites of xenophobia/intolerance and/or cosmopolitical encounter, connectivity and conviviality.
    We invite both theoretical and empirical papers taking into consideration different text-types and genres operating in the context of broadcast media, social media, films, and advertising. Examples may be drawn from different local refrains, discourses and narratives of the last years and on the different translation of migration and climate change discourses and policies in different countries.

    Deadline: Please send a 200-word abstract together with a brief biographical note to by 19 January 2014.

    The workshop is sponsored by the COST Action IS1101- Climate Change and Migration: Knowledge, Law and Policy, and Theory

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