DGSKA conference RG lab                                                EARTH WRITING: Anthropology, Philosophy and Speculative Fiction

Organisers: J. Otto Habeck, Gertrude Saxinger
1 October 2021   9:00-15:00 CET  Online
A Lab proposed by the DGSKA Regional Working Group “Circumpolar North & Siberia”, Moritz Gansen (Berlin), Jeanne Étélain (Paris/New York City), Eric Macedo (Berlin/Rio de Janeiro) & Andreas Womelsdorf (Heidelberg).
Invited Speakers: Edna Bonhomme (Berlin), Patrice Maniglier (Université Paris Nanterre), Elizabeth Povinelli (Columbia University New York)
In current debates around global warming, contaminations, and struggles for decolonization, both the Arctic and the Amazon feature as prominent zones of conflicts over lands and resources (cf. Campbell 2015; Stuhl 2016). These conflicts are oftentimes subtended by fundamentally antagonistic ontological claims (cf. Nadasdy 2003; Bessire 2014) – but what, then, are these struggles about? On a theoretical level, it would seem that the Earth of the Anthropocene is caught between the geological concept of a single planet (cf. Steffen et al. 2015) and the anthropological concept of a multitudinous Gaia (cf. Latour 2017). The two, however, come together in the phenomenological assumption that the Earth is ultimately One (Husserl 1940; Heidegger 1999): that it is the originary ground, bound up to the subject’s corporeal situation, unifying all her possible experiences and unifying ‘us’ as a species beyond our differences (cf. Ingold 2000; Latour 2018). But does this theoretical gesture not amount to declaring the Earth the last universal despite the many conflicts that concern the relationship to ‘It’? While contemporary anthropological and philosophical thinking has stressed the plurality of ontologies, it seems that we need to pluralize the very concept of Earth itself, without which we risk to erase eco-political inequalities and fractured histories (cf. de la Cadena 2015;  Yusoff 2018).
 In this lab, we propose to allow anthropology and philosophy to meet on the ground of speculative fiction (SF), whose speculative epistemological scope links it with both disciplines (cf. Anderson et al. 2018). The participants will be invited to read an SF text on the pluralization of the Earth and write its ending in small groups, moderated by invitees from anthropology, philosophy and related disciplines (1st panel). The various imagined endings will then be shared in order to make different concepts of the Earth resonate, leading to a collective conversation beyond disciplinary boundaries (2nd panel).
We invite prospective participants to submit a short abstract to indicate their background and interest in this workshop (max. 300 words). The number of participants is limited to 20: gertrude.saxinger@univie.ac.at and Otto.Habeck@uni-hamburg.de
Anderson, Ryan et al. (2018): Introduction: Speculative Anthropologies. Online: https://culanth.org/fieldsights/introduction-speculative-anthropologies (last access 08-24-2020).
Bessire, Lucas (2014): Behold the Black Caiman: A Chronicle of Ayoreo Life. Chicago & London: The University of Chicago Press.
Campbell, Jeremy W. (2015): Conjuring Property: Speculation and Environmental Futures in the Brazilian Amazon. Seattle & London: University of Washington Press.
De la Cadena, Marisol (2015): Earth Beings: Ecologies of Practice across Andean Worlds. Durham & London: Duke University Press.
Heidegger, Martin (1999 [1954]): Building, Dwelling, Thinking. In: Krell, David Farrell (ed.): Basic Writings. New York: Harper & Row, pp. 343-364.
Husserl, Edmund (1940 [1934]: Foundational Investigations of the Phenomenological Origin of the Spatiality of Nature: The Originary Ark, the Earth, does not Move. In: Farber, Martin (ed.): Philosophical Essays in Memory of Edmund Husserl. Boston: Harvard University Press, pp. 307-325.
Ingold, Tim (2000): The Perception of the Environment: Essays on Livelihood, Dwelling, and Skill. London et al.: Routledge.
Latour, Bruno (2018 [2017]). Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Latour, Bruno (2017 [2015]): Facing Gaia: Eight Lectures on the New Climatic Regime. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Nadasdy, Paul (2003): Hunters and Bureaucrats: Power, Knowledge, and Aboriginal-State Relations in the Southwest Yukon. Vancouver & Seattle: UBC Press.
Steffen, Will et al. (2015): Planetary Boundaries: Guiding Human Development on a Changing Planet. In: Science 347 (6223).
Stuhl, Andrew (2016): Unfreezing the Arctic: Science, Colonialism, and the Transformation of Inuit Lands. Chicago & London: The University of Chicago Press.
Yusoff, Kathryn (2018): A Billion Black Anthropocenes Or None. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.