In-Person Participant Meals: Breakfast will generally be served at 7:00-8:30 am, lunch at 12:00-1:00 pm, and dinner at 6:00 or 7:00 pm, depending on our schedule. There will be at least a 15-minute break between sessions, with coffee or tea.
Pauline Strong, “Envisioning the Future of the Global Humanities Institute on Climate Justice and Problems of Scale”
3:30 PM SAST | 1:30 PM GMT | Early Career Scholar Workshop 7 (All GHI participants invited)
John Arroyo, Stephen Borunda, Sarah Vaughan, Deirdre Zoll; “Climate (In)justice on the Ground: Technology, Development, Planning, and Policy.” Moderated by Katherine Lieberknecht.
Saturday, August 6
6:45 AM SAST | Field Trip
Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site: Sterkfontein Caves
Bothongo Lion and Rhino Nature Reserve
Adamson, "Meeting the Scale of the Challenge: Amplifying Humanities Communities of Interest, Building Communities of Purpose and Action"
This lecture roots the environmental humanities in a 400-year-old genealogy of the human and natural sciences that draws on anticolonial, antiracist, feminist scholarship, and is inclusive and respectful of knowledges developed in diverse cultures. I link scholarship developed in humanities ‘communities of interest’ (books, articles, and pedagogies) to scientific research into scale, climate crisis, and ‘syndemic.’ This relatively recent term, meaning ‘synchronous pandemics,’ is reframing discussions concerning the root causes, both ecological and social, of the challenges we are facing in the next three critical decades. As a concept, syndemic also helps me introduce and contextualize an exciting, scaled-up response among humanists, scientists, and local and regional groups who are co-organizing ‘communities of purpose and action.
Iva Pesa, “Resource Extraction and Environmental Injustice in Africa: Climate Justice Stories from South Africa, Zambia and Nigeria”
The Anthropocene has been conceptualised as a planetary phenomenon, which affects all life on earth. By zooming in on three African localities of resource extraction (Johannesburg, Mufulira, and Port Harcourt), I will ask why the Anthropocene gives rise to radically different experiences and responses. What are the fault lines of climate justice in localities of mining and oil drilling? How do categories of gender, class, and race play a role when living through environmental transformation?
Leo Bernucci, Marcos Colón, Robert Myers; "Environmental and Artistic Activism"
This panel will address environmental and artistic activism in the Amazon, Africa and globally by examining the history and consequences of extractivist practices, perspectives of Indigenous peoples, the dangers activists and those who report on environmental degradation face, and the role of film, theater and other media in drawing attention to corporate and governmental destruction of the environment.
“Amazonia Unseen: Resisting for Life.” Marcos Colón, Florida State University.
“Impertinent Intruders”: How Rubber Extraction in the Amazon Opened a Pandora’s Box of Voracious Extractive Industry in the 20th Century.” Leo Bernucci, University of California Davis.
“Theater Activism and the Environment: Brecht, Chekhov, Churchill, Kushner, Saro-Wiwa and Eco-Theater.” Robert Myers, Alwaleed Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR), American University of Beirut.
Rabinowitz, “Thinking and Communicating about Scale: A Perspective from Archeology”
Archaeologists, in the study of the human past, are used to confronting phenomena that unfold over millennia, rather than years, and over vast regions, not only in single communities. But our discussions of those expanses of time and space often become too abstract to connect to the detailed stories of individual lives we are also able to reconstruct. Current efforts in archaeology to move between those scales, and to connect them, may be relevant to similar attempts to communicate the scale of climate change in the future. After a brief introduction to the way archaeologists think about scale, this workshop will focus on the collaborative consideration of novel or unexpected ways to communicate scale in a way that could resonate with non-specialist audiences.
Melanie Murcott, “Theories of Climate Justice”
Acknowledging that climate change is a justice and human rights issue, the term “climate justice” was raised in the 2022 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. But what does climate justice mean? This lecture engages with different conceptualisations of climate justice, reflecting on distributive, participatory, corrective, and social injustices caused by and giving rise to climate change. The lecture then explains how a solid theoretical understanding of climate justice can contribute to more impactful climate action, including in the context of law and policy responses to climate change.
McGregor, “Structural Injustices as Causes of Climate and Food Injustices”
In this talk, I will argue that the differential disadvantages of the food system are perpetuated by unjust social structural background conditions.Those background conditions severely diminish the opportunities of some individuals and communities in our society. Since these background structural conditions are products of human creation or maintenance and they undermine the capabilities for social freedom, there is a shared responsibility for rectifying these structural injustices.
McGregor et al, “Values on Your Plate: The Future of Food”
All too often communities have the global food system imposed upon them supporting efficiency and corporate profits. This panel will argue that communities ought to design their own food systems based on values that they want to support. Some ofthe critical values are: Historical, Cultural, and Place-based Practices; Sustaining environmental integrity; Health, Nutrition, Deliciousness; Food Justice and Social Justice; Food Sovereignty. Each of the panelists will address building a sustainable and just future food system.
Thom Van Dooren, "Doing Multispecies Studies, With Snails"
Grounded in some examples from a forthcoming book, this lecture will outline what the field of multispecies studies has to offer to thinking through questions of ethics.
Melanie Murcott, George Outa, & Lawrence Watters; “Climate Justice and Litigation in the Global South”
Climate litigation is a growing global phenomenon, in which litigants are advancing novel arguments and invoking a variety of legal strategies in response to the wicked problem of climate change. Whilst there are many definitions of the term, “climate litigation” may be understood to include litigation that addresses climate mitigation and adaptation challenges, whether explicitly or implicitly. South Africa’s most celebrated climate case is Earthlife Africa. The court held in 2017 that a climate change impact assessment was required before a new fossil fuel development (a coal-fired power station) could lawfully be approved by the government. More recently, in 2021 and 2022, indigenous communities were successful in halting seismic surveys as part of new fossil fuel developments along South Africa’s coastline. These cases play an important story-telling role by bringing climate justice issues into the public domain. Against this background, the panel will reflect on the potential of climate litigation to advance climate justice for the Global South.
Gretchen E. Henderson, "Environmental Writing as Embodied Research: An Ecocinema from Life in the Tar Seeps"
This session engages senses of scale through a film screening to virtually visit a place—Great Salt Lake in North America—while considering overlooked ecologies wherever we are. The film or ecocinema (“Toward a Bird’s Eye View: Beyond mine, extracted“) grows from an intermedia project on Life in the Tar Seeps: Overlooked Ecologies at Great Salt Lake & Beyond. Great Salt Lake is often likened to a dead sea but is wildly alive, entangling with watersheds of the American West and interdependently supporting many lives. The lake’s tar seeps (nicknamed ‘death traps’) have attracted different perceptions of the lake’s value—from oil companies and other industries that extract its natural resources, to environmental scientists who collaborate with NASA researchers to understand interconnections between microbial and interplanetary lives, to curators and land artists (including Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty that famously inscribes the lakeshore), along with migratory birds and animals who rely on this depleting watershed. As the lake retreats from drought, how do ‘bodies of knowledge’ shift around a ‘body of water’ interconnecting many bodies: human, animal, botanical, and mineral? Following the film screening, a discussion will draw upon multidisciplinary embodied research, aesthetics of climate change, and different field methods of environmental writing that might grow attention to overlooked ecologies, not only far afield but right where we are.
Katherine Lieberknecht, "The Dove Springs Climate Navigators: A Framework for Linking Local Knowledge to Adaptation Planning and Increasing Community and Climate Justice"
Local communities experience firsthand the impacts of climate events, such as flooding, extreme heat, and wildfire. Marginalized populations see these impacts magnified by underlying conditions such as poverty and poor health. At the same time, residents on the frontline of climate events frequently have critical knowledge about the characteristics of these challenges, the harms they cause, and potential solutions. However, frontline communities often have scarce opportunity to participate in climate adaptation planning. In response, researchers, communities, local agencies, and nonprofit organizations have identified the urgent need to better link everyday knowledge about people’s experiences of and responses to climate events to climate adaptation planning.
This workshop presents an overview and discussion of a community-based research project designed to better link local knowledge with climate adaptation planning, for the purpose of reducing climate risk and increasing climate justice: the Dove Springs Climate Navigators. The Dove Springs neighborhood of Austin, Texas is a diverse, socially vibrant, and predominantly Hispanic/Latinx neighborhood experiencing repeated and severe flooding, increasing urban heat, and growing air quality impacts from wildfires. After a flood that resulted in loss of life and extensive property loss, residents and a community-serving organization (Go Austin!, Vamos Austin!) (GAVA) identified the need for a website and phone app where residents can both share knowledge about their community, climate events, and other chronic stressors with planners and policy makers, as well as find information needed to prepare for and respond to climate events. UT Austin researchers partnered with residents, GAVA, and the City of Austin to secure a National Science Foundation grant (NSF SCC IRG-2 1952196)to establish a network of 25 residents trained in disaster preparedness and community organizing techniques and support these Navigators as they co-develop a climate justice website/app. The workshop will describe the climate and community challenge, give an overview of the Climate Navigator framework, present lessons learned, and seek input on the usefulness and adaptability of the Navigator framework.