Tuesday 27 March 2018

British Scool of Athens

Speakers: Sarah Green and Nayanika Mathur

The perpetual crisis of managing animal mobilities

Human involvement in the movements of nonhuman animals pose distinctive questions for mobility in, and of, crisis. Across both time and space, attempted human management and surveillance of animals that move or are transported – by state organizations, by transnational regimes, by surveillance systems, and by commercial logistical infrastructures – present perpetual and perplexing troubles for those engaged in such activities. Our discussion moves from Cold War animal mobilities to contemporary suspicions of animals indulging in espionage; from invasive species to endangered and charismatic species; and from the politics of moving livestock to the global management of border regimes designed for animal-governance, not people-governance. These perpetual attempts to monitor and manage animal movements so that they remain within people’s material and epistemological boundaries seem to equally perpetually generate unanticipated crises. By considering the combined epistemological, structural, and material elements of attempts at managing animal mobilities, this workshop contributes towards a deeper understanding of mobilities in/of crisis.

Sarah Green is a professor of social and cultural anthropology at the University of Helsinki. She gained her Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Cambridge, on the theme of the spatial politics of feminist separatism in London. That work was the basis of her first book (Urban Amazons), which laid the foundations for her career-long interest in the politics of spatial location. She then went to Northwestern Greece to look at a different problem of spatial politics, concerning environmental, political, and historical conditions affecting people’s location in the region. That became the basis for her next book, Notes From the Balkans. She then spent 17 years teaching and researching at the University of Manchester. That period included research on the spatial implications of the internet, and research on trade and exchange in the Aegean region, the development of a COST network called EastBordNet, which focused on the rapidly changing politics of border dynamics in the eastern peripheries of Europe. That led to many publications, including Borderwork, co-authored with a photographer, Lena Malm, and the founding of a book series, Rethinking Borders (Manchester University Press).  Currently, Green works on animal mobilities in the Mediterranean region is part of her ERC Advanced Grant, Crosslocations in the Mediterranean: Rethinking the Sociocultural Dynamics of Relative Positioning.

Nayanika Mathur is Associate Professor in the Anthropology of South Asia at the University of Oxford. She is the author of Paper Tiger: Law, Bureaucracy, and the Developmental State in Himalayan India (Cambridge University Press 2016) and co-editor of Remaking the Public Good: A New Anthropology of Bureaucracy (Cambridge Journal of Anthropology, 2015). She is currently writing a book centered upon human-big cat conflict in South Asia, tentatively entitled Crooked Cats: Human-Big Cat Entanglements in the Anthropocene. Crooked Cats works through fieldwork conducted with victims of attacks by big cats, hunters, conservationists, wildlife biologists, animal rights activists, and photographers as well as archival work in India. It describes how humans share space with big cats that might – but also might not – be predatory.

© 2018 / Mobilities in/of Crises / Athens, Greece