Call for papers - Machines, gender and natures

https://ma-ge-nat.sciencesconf.org/

 

Dear all,

 

We have the pleasure to share with you the call for papers for the
international conference “Machines, gender and natures : anthropology of
extractive territories”.

This conference will take place from Tuesday 15th to Thursday 17th of
October 2019 at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS),
54 Boulevard Raspail, 75006 Paris.

Please take notice that proposals of films (shorts) are also welcome. The
deadline for submissions is *Wednesday 10th of July*.

 

Sincerely,

 

The organisation committee

 

 

International conference

 

*Machines, gender and natures : anthropologies of extractive territories*

 

15-17 October 2019

EHESS, 54 Boulevard Raspail

75006 Paris

 

 

 

This conference’s aim is to study different “extractive territories”
(mining, fishing, forestry, etc.) from the point of view of the
anthropological dynamics that structure them. The hypothesis is that they
pose common issues beyond the different geographies and populations
concerned. In fact, these territories are often constructed on the long
term, following similar trajectories. Often these spaces were belatedly
conquered, annexed or reclaimed by established powers : they are
asymmetrically structured and articulated heterogeneous populations along
different forms of coloniality; they are also over-mechanized spaces were
populations have a more precocious, more accentuates, and more divisive
relationship to mechanical objects, which are omnipresent on their daily
life ; they are also strongly masculinized and hierarchized spaces, where
gender plays a structuring role in social control ; last but not least,
these territories are historically constructed around a conception that is
oriented, extractive of predatory of natural resources and they constitute
today critical zones of contradiction, negotiation or re-articulation of
relationships to nature. Therefore, at different levels, it appears that
these territories raise in a particular way the issue of relations between
machines, gender and natures. This conference has the objective of
discussing this hypothesis by highlighting the connections between
mechanization, gender relations and relations to nature in different
contexts of natural resource extraction.

This conference is organized by the ANR Program *Mécaniques sauvages.
Anthropologie historique de deux territoires extractifs, Atacama - Chaco
(1850-temps présent).*

 

Paper proposals should address at least one of the following three topics.

 

 

1. * Extractive territories in gender perspective*

 

The mechanization of extractive activities has often translated in to
their masculinization. The industrialization of the mining production,
between the end of the XIXth and the beginning of the XXth century, had for
example the effect of marginalizing women’s labor in the sector and giving
rise to a new working class masculinity which became central to the
political and literary imaginaries o the time.

However this tendency towards mechanization/masculinization is recently
being nuanced, especially in great corporations, as a consequence of
technological innovations, of gender equality labour policies, and
“gender-neutral” management politics. The new extractive techniques that
revolutions the mining sector since the 1990s are in fact accompanied by a
“return” of women to the sector as engineers, geologists, or personnel in
charge of corporate social responsibility programs. How have these
innovations transformed the sexual division of labour and, therefore,
social relations between actors?

 

 

 

*2. **Machines, places and vectors of politics *

 

Whether burned, damned or celebrated, baptized or inherited, machines
constitute a dense and omnipresent object in the extractive landscape. They
are the very condition of possibility of extractive fronts, which finally
are a system of trawlers, trucks, excavators, etc. However, the position of
machines is ambivalent. In one way, they are the ever-present reminders of
the “initial violence” and the asymmetry of forces at work. The systematic
arsonist attacks against trucks in the Amazon and Araucania regions, show
how machines have assumed a central role in the contestation of power
relations. These territories have been mechanically conquered, and it is
around machines that all sorts of asymmetric relations and subjections have
been constituted. In another way, the overabundance of mechanics translates
in to a more contemporary diffusion and democratization of motorized
engines and tools. A multitude of second-hand trucks, excavators,
compressors, cutters, drills and crushers gradually abandon their original
systems and venture beyond the jungle, the mountains or the oceans. They
destabilize formed technical territorialities (missionary, military or
colonial) and deeply modify the local sociology of power, while
disseminating new forms of predation and “wild” mechanical extraction on
the territory.

This centrality of motorized engines and machines also appears at the level
of cultural practise, where it may take the form of machine’s animalization
(*ch’alla *of trucks, zootechnonymy, etc.), their relationship to death
(invocations, religiosity, death notices) or their sexualisation (tuning,
neons, chromes). The aim will be to interrogate the agency of mechanical
objects, at these different levels, as politically and culturally dense and
oriented objects.

 

*Axe 3 – Extraction and redefinition of nature*

 

Finally, these technical evolutions are correlated to different forms of
seeing and understanding the world. In one way, because the extractive
orientation of these territories forces a particular – often feminized -
understanding of nature. Therefore, for example, contemporary mobilizations
against open-pit mining exploitations in the Andes represent extraction
like a “rape” of the earth, which will render it “sterile” forever, hence
re-adapting an Andean trope which identifies mines with female wombs that
miners must “fecundate” in order to engender the mineral. These imaginaries
can sometimes obscure others non-binary representations of resources which
are found at a local level. On the other hand, the legal and social
evolutions, the development of tourism, the massification of digital images
and social networks, etc., make immediately visible the violence that these
extractive frontiers have introduced to usually fragile environments, often
remote, and scientifically sacrificed for decades. These contradictions are
at the origin of multiple, ongoing re-negotiations of environmental
representations and regulations – big mining corporations will suddenly
mobilise for the protection of a small unknown bird; touristic operators
and communities may privatise the “view” of a valley or a landscape; and
formerly popular animals will end up wandering, “wild” and photogenic, in
freshly created natural parcs. Finally, the democratisation of motorised
engins allows to revisit certain issues that are central to anthropology,
such as the limits of the cultural appropriability of technical objects –
don’t a fire arm, an excavator or a chainsaw possess, before any user and
any use, their own their “little ontologies”? Up to what point is it
possible to culturally appropriate a chainsaw (and to what point does it
appropriate the user?) In this great ongoing conversation between humans
and non-humans, what about engines? Some swear to have heard trucks speak
and attest to their changing mood, as human and non-human as they are...

 

 

*Proposal submission*

 

Paper proposals (including a title and an abstract half a page long) must
be addressed in French, English or Spanish before *the 20th of July 2019 *to
https://ma-ge-nat.sciencesconf.org/

 

*Organisation committee :*

 

Vincent Bos (EDYTEM-CREDA)

Kyra Grieco (CERMA/Mondes Américains - IFEA-EHESS)

Claude Le Gouill (CREDA-IHEAL)

Alberto Preci (PRODIG - Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne)

Nicolas Richard (CNRS CREDA)

 

*Scientific committee :*

 

Capucine Boidin (IHEAL-CREDA)

Luc Capdevila (Rennes 2)

Olivier Compagnon (IHEAL-CREDA)

Pierre Deleage (CNRS, LAS)

Christine Demmert (CNRS, CNE)

David Dumoulin (IHEAL-CREDA)

Pierre Gautreau (Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, PRODIG)

Pierre-Yves Le Meur (IRD)

Géraud Magrin (Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, PRODIG)

Jimena Obregón (Université de Rennes, ERIMIT)

Franck Poupeau (IHEAL-CREDA)

Carmen Salazar-Soler (CNRS, CERMA/Mondes Américains)

Alexandre Surallés (CNRS EHESS, LAS)

Sebastien Velut (IHEAL-CREDA)

 

*With the support of :*

 

CNRS, Centre national de la recherche scientifique

IHEAL-CREDA, Centre de Recherche et Documentation sur les Amériques, UMR
7227

Mondes Américains, UMR 8168

ANR DS0805 Mécaniques sauvages. Anthropologie historique de deux
territoires extractifs. Atacama, Chaco (1850-temps présent)