Decolonial Ecologies

Climate Justice in the Anthropocene

A conversation on the entanglements of Race, Climate Injustice, and Colonial Histories. Both sessions involve a 35-40-minute talk by the first speaker and a short response from the second speaker, following which the discussion will be opened to audience members.

Thursday, April 5th, 2018

1:00 – 4:30 pm | Car Barn 427 | Georgetown University

** Car Barn 427 is at the entrance level, past the Outdoor Patio and Pavilion space**

Full schedule below. See here for speaker bios.

12:30 – 1:00pm | Lunch

Session I: 1:00 – 2:45pm

1:00 – 1:20pm: Opening Remarks

1:20 – 2:00pm: Race, Carbon Risk, and ‘the Changing Wealth of Nations’ Neel Ahuja, Associate Professor, Feminist Studies/Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz

Abstract: For the past decade, the World Bank has undertaken monitoring and reporting projects to measure sustainable development goals, departing from renderings of wealth, growth, and capital that assume purely market-oriented logics of risk. Incorporating carbon and climate-related costs and assets, the Bank has titled its 2018 annual sustainability report ‘The Changing Wealth of Nations,’ indicating an attempt to refashion classical models of political economy to account for linkages between human and natural systems of reproduction. Exploring emergent metrics of carbon and particulate risk that transform political-economic concepts of capital and labor in World Bank discourse, this presentation analyzes neoliberal attempts to capture processes of ‘natural capital’ from the vantage of theories of racial capitalism. In the process, it argues that emergent crises of carbon finance (the proposed stock listing of Saudi Arabia’s Aramco oil company) and carbon disaster (the global rise in particulate-related deaths) reflect the proliferation of racialized data bodies that frame constructions of development as a planetary process.

2:00 – 2:15pm: Malini Ranganathan’s response

2:15 – 2:45pm: Discussion

2:45 – 3:00pm | Coffee and Cookies Break

Part II: 3:00 – 4:30pm

3:00 – 3:40pm: Climate of Dispossession: On the Coloniality of Urban Ecologies Malini Ranganathan, Assistant Professor, School of International Services, American University.

Abstract: Climate change catalyzes slow and fast violence in our cities. Yet it is the slow, everyday violence of urban evictions, segregation, flooding, thirst, and hunger—all of which disproportionately affect the life chances of racial, ethnic, and caste minorities — that we often fail to account for in our conceptualization of climate justice. Drawing on urban historiography and archival and ethnographic work in India and the US, this talk first argues that we consider the long arc of urban ecological dispossession through the lens of liberalism, difference, and coloniality. It then reflects on how we can imbue climate justice with radical, decolonial meaning. We can do this by foregrounding history and the intersectional struggles of those battling dispossession, even if—or perhaps especially if—those struggles do not articulate in the voice of liberal-democratic environmental activists.

3:40 – 4:00pm: Neel Ahuja’s response

4:00 – 4:30pm: Discussion and Closing Remarks

4:45 – 6:00pm | Reception in the Car Barn Patio