Following a long hot summer of wildfires, wildcat strikes, widespread droughts, and soaring energy prices, this series of the ASCA Political Ecology seminar attempts to trace the material, social, and historical terrains of struggle that have shaped our current ecological predicament and its discontents. Across an interdisciplinary programme of events in the coming year, Terrains of Struggle addresses three core lines of inquiry. How have intersecting struggles for decolonisation, decarbonisation, and liberation informed militant articulations of environmental thought? What methods are required to map both the environments of insurrectionary resistance and the built infrastructures of counterinsurgency? Finally, and most urgently, what emergent forms of assembly, strategy, and political ecology might militate against a horizon otherwise determined by infrastructural dispossession, colonial resource extraction, and petrocapitalist domination?
Thinking through and across these provocations invites us to ask how militant research practices – embedded methods that 'generate a capacity for struggles to read themselves' (Colectivo Situaciones) – might also reframe our understanding of situated knowledge production in political ecology.Engaging diverse and often unacknowledged radical tendencies across the environmental humanities, from decolonial ecology and petrocultural critique to militant cinema and guerrilla ecopoetics, Terrains of Struggle assembles a programme of public lectures, masterclasses, and performances that examine the submerged histories, social forms, and cultural expressions of an ongoing struggle for liberation that Amílcar Cabral called the ‘defence of the earth.’ Graduate students, faculty, and affiliated researchers of all disciplines are encouraged to attend.
Organized by Fred Carter, Joost de Bloois, and Jeff Diamanti
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up and for schedule details.
September 30, 1-3pm: Introductory session (room TBA)
Militant Poetics: Uncommon Disruptions & the Calamity Form
In collaboration with Perdu and NICA | November 5th // 12-14:00
Tracing a fugitive line from the anti-capitalist, abolitionist, and anti-enclosure poetics of the Industrial Revolution to the current crisis of fossil capitalism and its discontents, Anahid Nersessian and Daniel Eltringham's writings reorient the critical foundations of ecocriticism from the perspective of struggle. Reckoning with a counter-history of dissent that stretches from William Blake's Romantic-era radicalism to the contemporary militant poetics of Sean Bonney, this combined lecture and performance registers the commons and the calamity form as terrains of social domination, diminishing refuge, and potential resistance .
In collaboration with the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA) series Terrains of Struggle, Perdu hosts a program of talks, readings, and discussion.
Anahid Nersessian is a poetry scholar and professor of English at UCLA whose recent work includes Keat's Odes: A Lover's Discourse (2022), a collection of experimental essays, and The Calamity Form: On Poetry & Social Life (2020).
Daniel Eltringham is a poet, translator, and author of Poetry & Commons: Postwar & Romantic Lyric in Times of Enclosure (2022).
THE FACTORY, THE PLOT & THE EDGES OF THE BLACK ATLANTIC
January 28 from 15:00-18:00 | Potgieter, UvA Singel Library
Lectures and Performance with J.T. Roane (Rutgers University) , Christine Okoth (King’s College London), and Alexander Cromer (Leiden University)
The next session of TERRAINS OF STRUGGLE draws a critical cartography through blurred, sedimented, and insurgent traces of Black ecologies. Grounded in the factory, the plot, and the sedimented ecologies of voice, join J.T. Roane, Christine Okoth, and Alexander Cromer for lecture and sonic performances and an afternoon of discussion.
Participants in ASCA Political Ecologies seeking credit are also invited to a tour of the Black Archives at 16:00 on Friday, January 27th with this session’s guest speakers. Contact Jeff Diamanti (email@example.com) to sign up.
J.T. Roane is Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Geography and Andrew W. Mellon chair in the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice at Rutgers University. Roane's first book, Dark Agoras: Insurgent Black Social Life and the Politics of Place was published by New York University Press in January 2023.
Christine Okoth is Lecturer in Literatures and Cultures of the Black Atlantic in the Department of English at King’s College, London. Her work is primarily concerned with questions of environment and race in contemporary Black literature and visual art. She's currently working on a book project entitled Race and the Raw Material and has previously published articles on race as extractive form, the narrative peripheralization of racialized labour, and hydroelectricity in the postcolonial novel.
Alexander Cromer (he/they) is a spoken word performance artist and artistic researcher based in the Netherlands. Currently he is pursuing his PhD in artistic research at Leiden University where he concerns himself with matters of voice, Blackness, storytelling, and ecologies. When he isn't doing that, you could find him at home enjoying the finer things in life like wine and music and cute animal videos on the internets.
ASCA Political Ecologies Seminar: Terrains of Struggle is a research seminar supported by NICA and ASCA and is coordinated by Fred Carter, Jeff Diamanti, and Joost de Bloois. rMA students seeking credit can contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Toxic Coloniality or Colonial Toxicity?
24 March 2023
Samia Henni is a historian and an exhibition maker of the built, destroyed, and imagined environments. She is the author of the multi-award-winning Architecture of Counterrevolution: The French Army in Northern Algeria (gta Verlag, 2017, EN; Editions B42, 2019, FR), the editor of War Zones, gta papers no. 2 (gta Verlag, 2018), and Deserts Are Not Empty (Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, 2022). She is also the maker of the exhibitions Archives: Secret-Défense (ifa Gallery, SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin, 2021), Housing Pharmacology / Right to Housing (Manifesta 13, Marseille, 2020) and Discreet Violence: Architecture and the French War in Algeria (Zurich, Rotterdam, Berlin, Johannesburg, Paris, Prague, Ithaca, Philadelphia, Charlottesville, 2017–21). She teaches history of architecture and urban development at Cornell University's College of Architecture, Art and Planning.
On February 13, 1960, six years after the outbreak of the Algerian Revolution, or the Algerian War of Independence (1954–1962), the French colonial authorities denoted their first atomic atmospheric bomb in Reggane in the colonized Algerian Sahara. Codenamed “Gerboise Bleue” (Blue Jerboa), it had a blast capacity of 70 kilotons, about 4 times the strength of Little Boy, the United States’ atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima a month before the end of the Second World War. Blue Jerboa was followed by other atmospheric detonations, as well as various underground nuclear bombs in In Ekker, which continued until 1966, four years after Algeria’s formal independence from France.
To secretly conduct their nuclear weapons program in the colonized Sahara, the French army designed and built two military bases: one in Reggane, in the Tanezrouft Plain, approximately 1,150 kilometers south of Algiers, and another one in in Ekker, in the Hoggar mountains, about 600 kilometers south-eastern of Reggane. The use of the Algerian Sahara as a nuclear firing field spread radioactive fallout across Africa and the Mediterranean, causing irreversible contaminations among human and nonhuman lives, natural, and built environments.
This lecture aims at tracing and naming the spatial, atmospheric, and geological impacts of France’s atomic bombs in the Sahara. It exposes the coloniality and toxicity of the norms and forms of France’s weapons of mass destruction, including the classification of its very sources. It also examines the spatialities and temporalities of France’s colonial toxicity, or toxic coloniality, and explores the lives and afterlives of radioactive debris and nuclear wastes.
Samia Henni, “Performing Colonial Toxicity” lecture and masterclass (date and place TBA)