[SydPhil] HPS Research Seminar - Dr Sophie Chao - The Beetle or the Bug?
debbie.castle at sydney.edu.au
Tue Aug 11 11:19:28 AEST 2020
SCHOOL OF HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE
Held in conjunction with the Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science
RESEARCH SEMINAR SERIES
MONDAY 24th August 2020
DR SOPHIE CHAO
Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Sydney's School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry and the Charles Perkins Centre.
The Beetle or the Bug? Multispecies Resistance and Collaboration in the West Papuan Oil Palm Nexus
Abstract Drawing from long-term ethnographic fieldwork in the Indonesian-controlled region of West Papua, this paper examines the moral and political significance of monocrop oil palm ecologies among indigenous Marind communities. Many villagers identify with the fate of native species that, like Marind, are displaced or dispossessed to make way for oil palm plantations and their primarily non-Papuan labor force and operators. On the other hand, parasites that subvert capitalist agendas by undermining oil palm’s growth become figures of hope for Marind who conceive resistance to the state and corporations as the only legitimate path to self-determination. Meanwhile, species that entertain mutualistic relations with oil palm point to cooperation as an alternative survival strategy under entrenched political and capitalist regimes. Oil palm’s multispecies lifeworld thus complicates the characterization of monocrops as ecologically impoverished, technoscientifically produced landscapes engineered solely by and for humans. Attending to oil palm’s biological allies and foes as material-semiotic actors brings us instead to ask what species benefit from oil palm expansion, which lives and deaths matter, and to whom, with the necrobiopolitics of plantation science and its attendant ecologies. It also invites attention to the conflictual hopes offered by interspecies resistance and collaboration for indigenous communities in reconciling their aspirations for survival and self-determination under entrenched regimes of color and capital.
WHEN: 24TH AUGUST 2020 FROM 5PM
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