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Suspensions: Atmospherics of the Anthropocene

Maristella Svampa

The Knowledge/Culture/Ecologies conference will take place at Universidad Diego Portales in Santiago, Chile on November 15-18 2017. It is organized by the Institute for Culture and Society of the Western Sydney University.

We are glad to announce that some of Aerocene’s long-term collaborators will host a panel titled “Suspensions: Atmospherics of the Anthropocene”:

Manuel Tironi (Instituto de Sociología, P. Universidad Católica de Chile)
Cristián Simonetti (Programa de Antropología, P. Universidad Católica de Chile)

Confirmed speakers
Bronislaw Szerszynski, Lancaster
Timothy Choy, UC Davis
Nicholas Shapiro, Chemical Heritage Foundation and Public Lab

Articulated in the quarters of the earth sciences, the Anthropocene has brought geological matters and imaginaries to the critical attention of social scientists. Rocks, strata, tectonics and other geological beings and processes saturate the discourses around and about the Anthropocene.

This panel aims at expanding the theoretical scope on the Anthropocene by attuning to air, breathe, volatility, atmospheres and suspension as modes of attending to the more-than-solid ecologies of the Anthropocene. We ask: what temporalities, phenomenologies, embodiments, and politics does the Anthropocene invoke when thought in aerial, eolic, respiratory or atmospheric terms? What does it mean for theory and action to think the Anthropocene and our present environmental challenge as a form of suspension?

We thus take suspension as an analytics pointing to different meanings and conditions in an anthropogenically intervened planet. Forms of suspension whirling around discussions on the Anthropocene, include:

  • First, suspension as the condition of being immersed, carried and enlivened by aerocenic forces, but also intoxicated –and often harmed– by volatile chemical toxicants produced relentlessly yet accretively in our late liberal present.
  • Suspension also as a way of relating and dwelling that problematizes conventional assumptions on surfaces and movements as key tropes to think the unfolding of life on Earth.
  • Suspension, finally, as politics: as a state of not-quiteness, of in-betweenness and exception, a form of conviviality and sociality that rest on the temporal withholding of citizenship, locality and identity proper of 21st century politics.

For more information, including how to attend the conference, please take a look at the Knowledge/Culture website.