The symposium is aimed at tackling and interrogating a major environmental and socio-economic challenge of the 21st century: pollution. Our understanding of the problem—its precedents and solutions—have thus far been largely western-centric and scientifically driven. The symposium will bring scholars from ANU and beyond to discuss critical social and cultural questions related pollution, broadly conceived in environmental, social, and cultural terms. It will examine how pollutions and polluting practices shape local communities and landscapes, impact national agendas and policies, and transform social relationships and illness experience and infection.
We will raise a series of key questions surrounding the origins and consequences of pollution, such as how polluted systems pose new public health threats, and how human relations with bacteria are shifting; how do varied forms of pollution found in the air, water or soil spread, for instance, with increasing energy demands, and a range of practices associated with of agriculture, industry, or dumping? How do different societies across Asia and the Pacific explain and attempt to ‘rein in’ the spread and production of pollution, in social, cultural and ritual terms? What is the nature of global attempts to manage waste products and toxic substance? How might these affect existing structures of disadvantage across time and place; and what might be the role of civil society in generating global awareness and responses to pollutants? The symposium aims to leverage the interdisciplinary research expertise at ANU with colleagues from the region to analyse and communicate the theoretical and analytical contributions of our work to relevant fields, across anthropology, history, gender, media, public health and environmental studies.
Event runs from 9–11 September 2019
Full Program and event details found on CHL page