CfPs - The Quotidian Anthropocene: Reconfiguring Environments in Urbanizing Asia
16-17 October 2014
Organized by Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
Call for Papers (Deadline: 30 June 2014)
Asia's urban transition has radically transformed the region's societies and its ecologies. The evidence is everywhere: factories and concrete tarmac have replaced Bangkok's wetlands; Japan's coastal communities are surrounded by ever-growing seawalls; and in China, smog has become a major political concern. If we are indeed living in a period marked by the deep effects of humans on our environment, what many have called the Anthropocene, then such phenomena would seem to exemplify the stakes associated with these changes at their broadest levels. Yet, closer inspection reveals that such macro-level environmental changes are in fact enmeshed in micro-level social shifts, political contestations, and cultural transformations.
For individuals and communities living in Asia's burgeoning mega-cities, growing provincial centers, and changing hinterlands, social and environmental rupture has become constant and routine, its logic embedded in everyday practices and emerging policies. In many parts of the region, disaster is no longer relegated to acute, isolated, untoward events; it is now the "new normal." Even when not coping directly with an ongoing disaster's impacts, many Asian communities are engaged in either pre-disaster preparation or post-disaster recovery. Moreover, state and non-state actors strategically invoke the memory, or threat, of changing environments in order to justify their own agendas, projects, and policies. Patterns of migration and resettlement, urban infrastructure development, capital investment, and social policy are co-produced along with these shifting environments, modifying social relations, exacerbating inequalities, and generating fierce political struggles. At stake in these conflicts are normative, pragmatic and theoretical questions about citizenship, about the shape and relations of the built and natural environments, about the respective roles of local and expert knowledge, and about the constitution of just and resilient communities, in an age of unprecedented transformation. The lived experience of such contestations, the disruption that provokes them, and the practices that produce that disruption, shows how the epochal Anthropocene is found in the normal, the routine, and the quotidian.
The Quotidian Anthropocene: Reconfiguring Environments in Urbanizing Asia will explore the quotidian processes associated with Asia's changing environments by bringing together scholars from the Social Sciences and Humanities at a multi-disciplinary workshop. Papers may address (but are not limited to) the following questions:
How do quotidian practices in Asian communities produce or respond to the massive ecological transformations? What sorts of contestations emerge out of our changing environment? What might these struggles tell us about new political practices and emerging sites of environmental governance?
What ruptures or sites of socio-political conflict expose the new hybridities and engagements between humans and the planet?
What are the consequences of living in an age of environmental change marked by chronic and periodic disasters? What are the politics of space, place, and memory in a world of frequent disruption? How does the threat or experience of disaster come to inflect contests over the right to the city?
What kinds of projects—social, technological, infrastructural, economic, political—arise from and/or emerge in response to the changing planet? What forms of knowledge, contestation, and practice are invoked or produced by such projects?
Conference presenters may explore these issues through studies of contemporary and historical cases from a wide variety of disciplinary perspectives. In exploring such topics, The Quotidian Anthropocene: Reconfiguring Environments in Urbanizing Asia will offer a window into the production and re-ordering of local, regional, and global ecologies. It will consider how, even as seismic ecological rearrangements occur, human actors — including experts, authorities, and citizens — produce, feel, respond, and adapt to such changes. This workshop will interrogate these issues from situated vantage points across Asia's urban-rural matrix as a means of considering how the Anthropocene is tied to everyday life and how past and present struggles are shaping our environmental futures. The workshop will provide insight into how such political endeavors reimagine the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, as well as the roles played by local and expert knowledge, in re-making the new Asian city and preparing it for life in this precarious era.
Submission of Proposals
ARI invites those interested in participating in the conference to submit original paper proposals. ARI expects to publish selected papers from those accepted for presentation in a monograph/special journal issue.
Paper proposals should include a title, an abstract of 250 words, a short biography of 150 words, and should be submitted on the attached form and sent to Mr Jonathan Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org by 30 June 2014. For a copy of the submission form, click here. Successful applicants will be notified by 15 July 2014 and are required to send in a completed draft paper (5,000-8,000 words) by 16 September 2014.
Based on the quality of proposals and the availability of funds, partial or full funding will be granted to successful applicants. Participants are therefore encouraged to seek funding for travel from their home institutions. Full funding will cover air travel to Singapore by the most economical means, plus board and lodging for the duration of the conference.