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Lesley Green: “Sons and Daughters of Soil?”
May 2, 2018 @ 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm | Humanities 1, Room 210
“Sons and Daughters of Soil?”
Dr. Lesley Green (Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Cape Town and Founding Director: Environmental Humanities South)
Responding, as researchers, to Earth Mastery that includes not only violent machines, but a violation of evidence and epistemes including the scientific episteme, requires accumulating and presenting evidence for existences that do not exist — at least, not in neoliberal discourses. In trying to research and support specific situations of Black environmental struggle in South Africa, I find myself standing with that which has no existence in conventional discourses: for a cliff that no longer exists; for molecules that have no existence in local knowledge; for people who have no existence in the mining companies, for the assassinated Bazooka Radebe, whose existence is now with the Ancestors, and with the soil he died to conserve. Environmental Humanities South had begun by asking a question about how to generate evidence in the geological Anthropocene. By the time our first three years had ticked by and we had encountered the Capitalocene, I had learned that a far more fundamental struggle has to be the focus of our work. What exists? Who exists? In what registers and modes? How do we take on the new conquistadors with their machines called Earth Masters, given that it is their owners’ logic that has come to define who exists and what exists and what can be ground to dust? How can scholarship contribute to the building of a broad-based environmental public? Presented as a dilemma tale, this talk sketches six moves toward an ecopolitics in South Africa, with the question: what else could be in this discussion?
*This event is co-sponsored by the Science and Justice Research Center and the Anthropology Department, and is open to the public.