Mittwoch, 24. Mai 2023, 17:00 - 18:30 iCal

Wednesday Seminar

Logistics, place & the racialization of nature (Ashley Carse)



One doesn’t have to dig deep in Savannah, Georgia to unearth connections between the plantation past and contemporary logisticsled development. The Garden City container terminal, now the fourth largest in the United States, sprawls across several former plantation sites. The places where cranes unload ships, where corporate distribution centers and transshipment facilities rise from wetlands, where semi-trucks roar down highways—these are the same places where slave ships docked, where plantation-grown rice and cotton were exported. Until recently, the history of logistics has been largely narrated as a “revolution” in managerial rationalities and technical capacities that began in the 1960s and went on to reshape economic geographies. But, as an emerging body of critical scholarship shows, this narrative underemphasizes how today’s efficient cargo movement was built on the violent, intertwined histories of military supply systems and the Atlantic slave trade. If logistics can be understood as a global capitalist process enacted through situated configurations of racialized labor, how does nature figure in these transformations? Through an analysis of three environmental management projects in the lower Savannah River—nineteenth-century rice plantations, twentieth-century waterfowl conservation, and twenty-first century efforts to mitigate the environmental damage of a harbor deepening megaproject—I show how the reconfiguration of land and labor to facilitate cheap circulation has been bound up with the ongoing racialization of nature.

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Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie


Hanna Vietze
Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie