Web roundup I: RAI conference, podcasts and writing inspiration

So much is happening - conferences, publications, podcasts, reviews - and this roundup provides a selective overview of some of what I’m finding exciting relating to climate-change.

Please email me at heid.jerstad@ed.ac.uk with exciting finds to be included in the next roundup :)


The event of 2016 for social science scholars working on climate change in the UK was the 50-panel Royal Anthropological Society-organised Anthropology, Weather and Climate Change conference at the British Museum, reviewed here by Sandip Hazareesingh. Across the atlantic, the Environmental Humanities Initiative at the University of Santa Barbara organised a ‘nearly carbon-neutral conference’ called Climate change: views from the humanities in May - complete with panels, speakers and keynotes. The talks are also available on YouTube and SoundCloud as podcasts. For more great podcasts check out the Centre for Energy and Environmental Research in the Human Sciences (CENHS) podcast run by Dominic Boyer and Cymene Howe, for instance an interview with author Paulo Bacigalupi whose book The Windup Girl imagines a post-carbon future where wars of intrigue are fought over food plant DNA, or a recent one with Thomas Hylland-Eriksen where he talks about the lives of people in an Australian town bound up with the carbon industry. Cymene Howe also runs the Anthropocene Lexicon, with Anand Pandian - part of Cultural Anthropology - an exciting set of explorations of terms which illustrate different ways to approach thinking about being in the Anthropocene. 


From the summer of 2015 - recent, but a long time ago in climate change scholarship - is the Anthropologies (Savage Minds - now Anthrodendum) special issue, a collection of sundry views and genres in the field. One of these is mine, and writing it led me to think (even) more about the particular challenge of writing on climate change. Balancing data, communication, appeal and the weight of guilt/blame that can make it hard for people to engage. In another of the CENHS podcasts Cymene and Dominic interviewed Roy Scranton, an ex-combatant-turned-scholar whose piece Learning to die in the anthropocene brings climate change home by effective comparison with the invasion of Irak. Similarly, Naomi Klein’s Let them drown and Margaret Atwoods’ It’s not climate change, it’s everything change show that in this sphere, good writing can really get a message across. Perhaps this is something the rest of us can be inspired by. What would be the title equivalent to ‘Let them drown’ or ‘How to die in the anthropocene’ that might kick off a piece like this about your own research? Keep me posted.