The Theory, Culture & Society special issue on GeoSocial Formations is finally out! Please email me, if you don’t have access and would like to read it.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Anja Kanngieser (email@example.com) or Angela Last (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 1 February 2015.
Image source: unknown
Next week, the RITA seminar ‘Imagining Caribbean Future Spaces’ will be taking place at the University of Birmingham. I will be speaking on the ‘Future Environmental Spaces’ panel with Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert. This is the abstract for my presentation. Hopefully see some of you there!
‘Apostrophant l’apocalypse, misant sur le déluge prêt à remodeler ton île avec le secours de ton volcan, tu as failli te faire toi aussi prendre au piège du terrorisme par procuration. Et tu cherches encore à préserver ton style pour le suivi de ta dérive sans oser rester seul en l’ayant dépassé. Mais ne va rien déchirer encore…’ (from Daniel Maximin, Soufrières, 1987).
What are we doing when we ‘apostrophise’ the apocalypse? I propose that the kinds of acts that resonate with this word and with this paragraph enable a productive dialogue with recent apocalyptic dialogue around climate change and the anthropocene. Based on my struggle with the translation of the above quote, this paper looks at the relations between destructive (or potentially destructive) relations between natural forces and human politics that have been rendered particularly sharply in the Caribbean. It is such relations that need to be addressed if we (and who is this we?) are still invested in a different kind of future. If the Caribbean, despite the constant natural and political threats that it is subjected to, is ‘not an apocalyptic world’ (Benìtez-Rojo), as it has been claimed, what might Caribbean discourse tell us about other ways of framing the contemporary and future planetary condition?
Courthouse and former Employee, Plymouth, Monserrat. Image: Christopher Pillitz
I am honoured to be speaking on the Future Environmental Spaces panel at the upcoming RITA (Race in the Americas) seminar on Imagining Caribbean Future Spaces. My presentation ‘Apostropher L’Apocalypse’ will discuss French-Caribbean poetic engagements with disasters and politics, and their invaluable contributions to Anthropocene discourse. The seminar is taking place on 31 October at the University of Birmingham and is organised by Patricia Noxolo, Adunni Adams and James Owen Heath. Attendance is free of charge. Speakers include Lisabeth Paravisini-Gebert, Fabienne Viala, Selwyn R. Cudjoe, Maria Cristina Fumagalli, Pat Noxolo, Louise Hardwick and Thomas Glave.
Here are the seminar details:
“[W]e need imaginations that are sensitive to inner-city decay and the lungs of the globe orchestrated into forests and rivers and skies. We need to build afresh through the brokenness of our world….”
— Wilson Harris
This one-day symposium looks at the ways in which the Caribbean and the future are imagined together. How has the future of the Caribbean been imagined and how is it being re-imagined at a time of environmental change and global insecurity? How does the future look when we imagine it in and through the Caribbean – is the Caribbean a space to imagine the future differently?
31 October 2014, 9am – 5.15pm
The University of Birmingham
Birmingham B15 2TT
Carribbean Future Spaces is funded by the Institute for Latin American Studies & the University of Birmingham.
Over at the Society & Space blog, Kathryn Yusoff has just uploaded the forum on the 400ppm concentration. Entitled ‘Exit Holocene, Enter Anthropocene’, the forum brings together a set of eleven short commentaries on the latest atmospheric CO2 ‘milestone’. In my contribution to this forum, I grapple with the rather abstract figure of 400 parts per million in the form of a mini-review-dialogue with two ‘growth objectors’, Isabelle Stengers and François Roddier.
This is just my luck: I am writing/researching for an article on the Anthropocene that looks at the work of the Négritude movement, and – bang! – two conferences, one on each of the topics, arrive at once, unfortunately on the same day! Incidentally, they also share the same (affordable!) price tag… Here are the invitations for both conferences, in case some of you would like to go to either of them:
Confirmed speakers include: Professors Richard and Sally Price (College of William and Mary, Virginia), Charles Forsdick (Liverpool), Roger Little (Trinity College, Dublin), Romuald Fonkoua (Sorbonne, Paris).
Advance Registration required by 17 June 2013.
More information here.
Conference 2, entitled ‘Society in the Anthropocene’, is taking place at the University of Bristol on 24 and 25 June 2013.
The draft programme can be downloaded here.
Postscript: Recordings of the Bristol conference can be found here.
Thanks to Coco from King’s College Geography MA for bringing the video to my attention.
Directed by Sustainable John @sustainablejohn (twitter) @罗大翰 (weibo)
Producer: An Na; Editor: Sustainable John; Lyrics: Sustainable John; Choreography: Yu Fei; Filming: Tim Quijano; An Na, Zhang Yuchen; Green PSY: George Ding; Dancers: Liu Dan, Guan Fei, Wang Zhuqing, Sustainable John
Sound: Busy Bee Studios, Beijing
My low carbon style
I live in a big city, but I’m thinking of the planet
A low carbon life, and all my green friends
These ladies and gents wanna spread environmental protection
Walk every green road
It’s low carbon style, every day take the bus, walk, and bike
It’s energy saving style, turn off the lights, use less AC
It’s green style, less meat, more veggies, both green and healthy
It’s low carbon style, have you gone low carbon?
Yesterday, I rode my bike, with a lady on the back,
Enjoying it together, who wouldn’t want to?
We gotta protect the environment, our planet, a green life
All my brothers and sisters, come follow me
My low carbon style
We’re all low carbon
My country is paying more attention to climate change
It’s put low carbon concepts in its 12th five year plan
What should we do to help? You and me?
Low carbon life is for future generations
That’s low carbon, imitating grandma with your public transit card
That’s energy saving, looking at energy labels and only buying No 1 products
That’s going green, you always got your chopsticks and reusable bags
That’s low carbon, have you gone low carbon?
I saw a man driving, he looked down on me, he said to me: “Can’t touch me”
This concept, I’m gonna break it, for the planet, for you and me
Can you please come over here and…
Rub my bicycle?
Yeah rub my bicycle.
Public transit is where it’s at.
My brain is a public transit map
I don’t need plastic bags, I just grab that yam
Whoever’s greenest, I’m gonna tap that ass
Hope every country will follow the green path
We’re all low carbon!