Mittwoch, 14. Juni 2023, 17:00 - 18:30 iCal

Wednesday Seminar

The Earth Explicated: Representing and Intervening in West Texas (Cameron Hu)



What interesting trouble should “planetary” turbulence make for prevailing conceptions of knowledge, in anthropology and beyond? This talk raises that question from the Permian Basin of West Texas—the world’s most prolific fracking zone today, and a “final frontier” of US continental imperialism a hundred years prior. The humanities have lately been urged to adjust their terms of inquiry for compatibility with the strong languages (Asad 1994) of planetary cybernetics. But the view from West Texas suggests a different problem: reflection on the operations and trajectories through which modern powers have continuously explicated the Earth qua planet. Thinking with and sometimes against Ian Hacking’s Representing and Intervening (1983), I develop exemplary episodes from the 20th century birth and 21st century rebirth of West Texas oil. These invite renewed consideration of obdurate distinctions that underwrite familiar moralities of knowledge in the liberal North Atlantic: the pure from the applied, proposition from action, management from exploitation, and perhaps knowing from destroying.

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Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie


Hanna Vietze
Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie