Ethnography and Environmental Justice: Anthropological Engagements in Vulnerability’s “Double Force”
|Prof. Dana E. Powell, PhD (Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Appalachian State University, USA)
|主 持 人
|Prof. Yuan-chao Tung (Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, National Taiwan University)
|Friday, May 21, 2021 2pm-4pm
|What is the role of ethnography in sociopolitical movements for environmental justice? This question has shaped two decades of the author’s research alongside communities in the Navajo (Diné) Nation in the US Southwest, Standing Rock Sioux Nation in North Dakota, and Black and Indigenous groups in eastern North Carolina. More broadly, how might ethnography – the central critical method of cultural anthropology — offer particular insights into what the author sees as the “double force” of vulnerability? This presentation draws upon a longer paper by Powell (with co-authors Grant Gutierrez and Theresa Pendergrast, forthcoming in Environment & Society) that argues for the unique contributions of an ethnographic sensibility and empirical attentiveness to transforming environmental injustice by rethinking “vulnerability,” from a biological to a socially-produced force, that does not necessarily foreclose new political possibilities. The talk offer three situated, ethnographic cases for examining the sociocultural impacts of extractive energy infrastructure (coal, oil, and biogas, specifically) in Indigenous communities where Powell has worked. Ultimately, the cases demonstrate how the Anthropology of Energy must remain critically attendant to the empirical if it is to enhance theoretical and public-facing conversations on climate change and just transitions.
|Dana E. Powell is an environmental anthropologist working on the cultural politics of energy infrastructure, ecological contamination and defense, and the co-production of knowledge. Powell’s first book, Landscapes of Power: Politics of Energy in the Navajo Nation (Duke Press, 2018) offers an ethnographic and STS analysis of a Diné-led social movement that stopped a coal-fired power plant slated for tribal lands. Her more recent project examines pluricultural responses to extractive industries and climate change in eastern North Carolina and she is presently exploring a similar, comparative project in rural Taiwan. Powell’s lives with her family in the mountains of southern Appalachia.