"Native life: Or, being outside the carbon imaginary" by Prof Elizabeth Povinelli

Past Event

07 March 2014, 5:00pm - 6:00pm


This lecture is hosted by the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, an Oxford Martin School Institute

Speaker: Professor Elizabeth Povinelli, Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, Columbia University

Summary: This talk critically examines contemporary scientific discussions of the Anthropocene and climate change and contemporary theoretical theories of New Vitalism, New Animism, and Relational Ontology. Using examples from settler Australia, the talk argues that rather than opposed epistemologies, these natural sciences and theoretical approaches share a "carbon imaginary," namely, the idea that there is a natural and foundational distinction between life and nonlife; and that life, and human life in particular, sets the ethical, social and political conditions within which all activity can and should be assessed. The talk asks us to consider how a multitude of Indigenous geontologies are currently acting as a kind of subjugated knowledge, an energetic pressure registering on human thought and action.

Venue: Pitt Rivers Museum Lecture Theatre