Event: The Quotidian Anthropocene: Reconfiguring Environments in Urbanizing Asia

The Quotidian Anthropocene: 
Reconfiguring Environments in Urbanizing Asia
 
DATE
:
16-17 October 2014
VENUE
:
Asia Research Institute Seminar Room, National University of Singapore
469 A Tower Block, Level 10, Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 259770 [
MAP]
WEBSITE
:
 
 
This workshop is jointly organized by the Science Technology and Society Cluster, and Asian UrbanismsCluster at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore.
 
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 experienced as 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 explores the quotidian processes associated with Asia’s changing environments by bringing together scholars from the Social Sciences and Humanities at a multi-disciplinary workshop. In exploring such topics together, we offer a window into the production and re-ordering of local, regional, and global ecologies. We consider how, even as seismic ecological rearrangements occur, human actors — including experts, authorities, and citizens — produce, feel, respond, and adapt to such changes.  We 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. This workshop provides insight into how such political endeavors re-imagine 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.
 
PROGRAM
 
Please click here for the Program & Abstracts and do visit the link periodically for updates.
 
REGISTRATION
 
Admission is free, however, registration is required. Kindly register early as seats are available on a first come, first served basis. Please email Valerie at valerie.yeo@nus.edu.sg to indicate your interest to attend the talk.
 
WORKSHOP CONVENORS
 
Dr Eli Elinoff
Asia Research Institute & Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore 
E | 
arieae@nus.edu.sg
Dr Tyson Vaughan
Asia Research Institute & Tembusu College, National University of Singapore

E | 
arietv@nus.edu.sg
 

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