Postcolonial Natures Conference, June 2015

Conference: Postcolonial Natures: Landscapes of Violence and Erasure, 17 June 2015

What might postcolonial theory contribute to transdisciplinary research on environmental issues?

The Anthropocene, a concept of growing significance across the natural and social sciences, pushes all scholars to ask how environmental change and human exploitation are intertwined. Three of the proposed start dates for the Anthropocene directly link planetary change to colonial processes: The Columbian Exchange, a product of Portuguese and Spanish Imperialism; 19th century industrialism, an offspring of British colonial efforts; and the “Great Acceleration” of the 1950s, profoundly tied to American imperialism and the forms of consumer capitalism it brought into being.

This conference seeks to bring two strands of postcolonial theory – one that focuses on ontological politics/politics of knowledge and a second that emphasizes transnational capitalism/political economy – together to provide critical tools for thinking about environmental concerns. Centering questions of power, colonialism, and capitalist relations, the conference aims to probe how histories of inequality and oppression haunt landscapes and shape multispecies relations.

This event brings together five preeminent thinkers at the borders of postcolonial theory and landscape studies:

  • Itty Abraham (Southeast Asian Studies, National University of Singapore) Science and technology studies in the global south
  • Lesley Green (Anthropology, University of Cape Town) Ontological politics and nature in South Africa and Latin America
  • Shiho Satsuka (Anthropology, University of Toronto) Practices of translation in Japanese forest management
  • Marcos Lopez (Sociology, Bowdoin College) Labor and migration in the agricultural landscapes of Mexico and California
  • Paulla Ebron (Anthropology, Stanford University) Plantation ecologies and economies in the American Southeast

See the official conference schedule here: Postcolonial Natures Schedule

Co-funded by the Aarhus University Research on the Anthropocene and the Contemporary Ethnography research program.

For more information, contact Heather Anne Swanson, ikshswanson@cas.au.dk