Asian Ecologies: Capitalism, Modernity and the Environment
April 5-7, 2013
Location: Lahore University of Management Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan
The advent of modernity led to new ecologies embedded in complex rubrics of power: industrial growth and urbanization; resource extraction and development; commercial agriculture and hydrology; state building and warfare. During the industrial epoch, resource appropriation from the South was instrumental in the rise of the West; today, much of Asia remains mired in poverty due to the manner of its forced entry into the Europe-centric world system, an ongoing process characterized by transformations in the physical landscape, marginalization of indigenous knowledge, and the overpowering of local commerce by global mercantilism.
Ecology challenges artificially constructed distinctions between humans and the natural environment; its critical insights have profound implications for the humanities and social sciences, not least in Asia where late capitalism’s ecological limits are felt increasingly acutely by city and rural dwellers alike. Here, as in Africa and Latin America globalization’s most recent phase is busy transforming once predominantly agrarian-societies into urbanized repositories of labor, surplus labor, and slum dwellings in which experience evolves in ways largely unknown to institutional powerbrokers. The fate of Asia’s rural populace is equally subject to political and economic forces, state policies and state-failures passed off as ‘natural disasters.’ The proliferation of mega-dams and an endless cycle of irrigation projects and land appropriation has led to displacement, poverty and intensified commercialization of agriculture.
We are excited to bring a focused discussion on Asian ecologies to Lahore. Beyond the headlines, Pakistan boasts a vibrant civic culture and committed activist community whose extensive engagement with the conference will be facilitated by our chosen format: panels and moderated roundtables that allow for maximum exchange of ideas between scholars and community organizers, artists and journalists whose daily work is rooted beyond the academy.
Scholarship on ecology in the Arts, Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Geography, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, and Women’s Studies is growing. We welcome proposals dealing with all aspects of Asian ecologies past and present, including the following:
North-South Relations; The Politics of Resource Appropriation
Colonial Ecologies and their Legacies; Neoliberalism, Imperialism
Migration and Displacement; Urbanization, Slums, and Megacities
Agriculture and Hydrology; Rural Transformations
Biotechnology, intellectual property, Biopiracy
Land grabbing, primitive accumulation; Commons and Enclosures
Gender and Ecology; Environmental Activism; Revolt and Resistance
Sedentarization; the Pastoral world under threat
State Building and accumulation: Rent Seeking, Violence, and War
Global and Regional Trade; Markets, Networks and Commercial Forces
Disasters, Hazards, and Vulnerability
Traditional Medicine; Health and Healing
Art and Eco-aesthetics; the Artist and Eco-Politics
Ecology and the Humanities
Please send a 350-word abstract and a short bio to the conference organizers Ali Nobil Ahmad (ali.nobil[at]lums.edu.pk) and Hasan H. Karrar (hkarrar[at]lums.edu.pk) by November 10, 2012. Presenters shall receive notification of acceptance by December 1, 2012.
Conference proceedings will be published in an edited volume or journal special issue. Journalists, trade unionists and student leaders in attendance will ensure their broader impact and long term legacy for ecological struggles in Pakistan and beyond.
The department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Lahore University of Management Sciences shall extend hospitality during the conference by providing accommodation and meals. We have limited resources to subsidize travel to Lahore; please indicate if travel support is required.
Hasan H. Karrar
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
Lahore University of Management Sciences
Lahore, Pakistan Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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